Pro-life groups throughout Illinois formed an ad hoc coalition this spring to prevent passage of a bill intended to obstruct sidewalk counseling outside of abortion mills.
“The pro-abortion side really thought they were going to get Illinois FACE this year. This was a real defeat for them.”
House Bill 2486, the so-called Illinois Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) bill, was passed earlier this year by the Illinois House and was voted out of a Senate committee, but was never brought before the full Senate. Thanks to the pro-life postcard and telephone campaign, the bill’s sponsors realized they did not have the votes needed for passage.
HB 2486 uses vague language and huge civil penalties in an effort to frighten sidewalk counselors and abortion protesters away from abortion mills, and is even worse than the national FACE law, which many civil libertarians consider unconstitutional. Illinois pro-life groups responded by urging their members to contact their state senators to vote against the bill.
Though the deadline for passage of the bill was extended until the end of the year, pro-life lobbyist Ralph Rivera of Illinois Citizens for Life said that keeping it from being brought for a vote was a real pro-life victory: “The pro-abortion side really thought they were going to get Illinois FACE this year. This was a real defeat for them.” The fight against the bill will resume in the fall, Rivera said.
Pro-life activists from around the country should keep an eye on the fate of the Illinois FACE bill. Similar efforts can be expected around the country as the pro-abortion forces seek new ways to undermine effective pro-life activism in the wake of their defeat in NOW v. Scheidler.