Illinois crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are bracing for an attack by newly elected Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. During her campaign, Madigan vowed to use her new office to crack down on “phony” crisis pregnancy centers that don’t offer abortions. Illinois pro-lifers are taking Madigan’s campaign promise seriously. “Politicians rarely keep their promises,” notes League Executive Director Ann Scheidler, “except when it comes to expanding abortion and attacking pro-lifers. Then you can count on them to keep their word.”
Illinois CPCs Respond
Conrad Wojner, Director of the Women’s Center of Greater Chicagoland, is similarly concerned. While confident that Illinois’ CPCs, including the four Chicago-area centers he directs, would prevail in a legal contest, Wojner doesn’t put it past Madigan to follow through on her promise, draining time and resources from already overworked and underfunded CPCs.
“The only choice they give women is abortion. So much for choice.”
— Conrad Wojner
Wojner points out the hypocrisy of “pro-choice” Madigan’s threat when he says, “The thing that you hear over and over from girls and women that come here is ‘I have no choice, I have to get an abortion.’ Yet when compassionate pro-lifers step up to offer women with crisis pregnancies real alternatives to abortion, the pro-abortionists cry foul. The only choice they give women is abortion. So much for choice.”
But Wojner doubts whether Madigan has really put much thought into her threat. If she had, she would have learned that New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer failed earlier this year to shut down CPCs in his state at the behest of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) and other major pro-abortion contributors to his election campaign.
New York CPCs Fight Back
Chris Slattery, founder and President of Expectant Mother Care, New York’s largest network of CPCs serving over 4000 women each year, described how the New York CPCs won the day. In January, Spitzer launched an investigation into the CPC’s activities, issuing a battery of subpoenas. Said Slattery, “Our team of lawyers did an aggressive job of fighting back, hitting Spitzer in seven different courts with motions to quash the subpoenas. Meanwhile, we carried on a media blitz, exposing Spitzer’s radical pro-abortion puppetmasters at NARAL, NOW and Planned Parenthood. We painted Spitzer as an ideologue making political payback.”
“We hit Spitzer with everything we had.”
— Chris Slattery
A massive mailing campaign drew support and prayers from around the nation. Spitzer’s office was bombarded with e-mails, phone calls, letters and petitions. On St. Valentine’s day, Spitzer’s office received dozens of bouquets of roses on behalf of women who had been helped by CPCs. These women appeared on radio and TV shows and thanked Expectant Mother Care and the other CPCs who had helped them give the gift of life to their children. “We hit Spitzer with everything we had,” Slattery said.
In an attempt to save face, Spitzer badgered one of New York’s smallest CPCs into agreeing to curtail some of its activities, then withdrew the remaining subpoenas. This move came the very day after Slattery appeared on MSNBC’s Allen Keyes is Making Sense, with representatives from NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Slattery effectively cast Spitzer and his pro-abortion supporters as radical anti-life ideologues.
Illinois CPCs Ready To Fight
Despite the exhausting campaign, New York CPCs emerged from the “Spitzkrieg” unscathed. If Lisa Madigan keeps her promise to harass CPCs in Illinois, Slattery and the New York CPCs’ victory will provide a blueprint for local pro-lifers.
Thomas Brejcha, of Chicago’s Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center, says the Law Center is ready to defend local CPCs if Madigan follows through on her campaign promise when she takes office next January.
Madigan’s mania to thwart pro-life efforts comes as no surprise, given her pro-abortion history. She was one of only six Illinois state senators to oppose a ban on partial-birth abortion. Madigan once worked for Lowell Sachnoff, an attorney who argued against the League in NOW v. Scheidler. Madigan was present in the lawyers’ gallery during oral arguments before the Supreme Court this month.
During her campaign for Attorney General, Madigan accepted over $200,000 in contributions from Planned Parenthood.
Sources: Chicago Sun-Times 10/20/02, Illinois State Board of Elections Online