From right: League Vice President Ann Scheidler, League National Director Joe Scheidler, and their state representative, John D’Amico [Photo by John Jansen]
Over 75 Chicago area pro-lifers climbed aboard two buses sponsored by the SpeakOut Illinois coalition to head to the State Capitol in Springfield on Thursday, March 8.
Designated as Life Advocacy Day, these pro-life voters visited their representatives and state senators to urge them to support, and even co-sponsor two pieces of legislation that have the potential to save the lives of women and unborn babies.
The Ultrasound Opportunity Act (HB4085) would require abortion facilities that already have ultrasound equipment to offer the pregnant woman a chance to view an ultrasound image of her unborn child an hour before having an abortion.
The pro-woman argument in favor of the Ultrasound Opportunity Act is that women considering abortion are often under pressure from a boyfriend, husband or parent. They may also feel they are under a time constraint and must make a quick decision. The abortion clinic “counselor” may also be applying pressure, highlighting the challenges she faces in an unexpected pregnancy.
The ultrasound image provides the woman with a simple scientific piece of information that she is entitled to before she makes a permanent decision about her baby. Yet, many legislators are misinformed about the provisions of the proposed law.
Many fall for the argument that it places an undue burden on a woman to ask her to choose whether or not to view the ultrasound, an argument often proposed by the same people who claim that women are perfectly capable of making their own decisions about abortion.
But without this important piece of information, how can she make a really informed choice?
Most abortion clinics are already using ultrasound to determine the age and size of the fetus, information they often use to determine what they will charge the patient. The abortionist, the ultrasound technician, and the nurse have access to the ultrasound image. Why not the mother?
It is not different from showing a patient an X-Ray of his damaged knee joint as he tries to decide whether or not to undergo knee replacement surgery.
Women are smart enough and capable enough to handle the truth that an ultrasound reveals. They are still free to choose the abortion under the proposed law, but they will make that choice better informed. And, as the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Joe Lyons (D-Chicago) pointed out in committee hearings, “If the ultrasound results in a life saved, is that such a bad thing?”
The second piece of legislation under consideration is HB4117, which would amend the state’s Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center (ASTC) Act to require ASTCs where 50 or more abortions are done per year to adhere to the same health and safety standards as other ASTCs.
This bill would simply make abortion clinics safer because they would be subject to health and safety inspections. A recent investigation into the Illinois Department of Public Health Department records revealed that many clinics had not been inspected in more than ten years, in some cases, more than fifteen years.
As with the Ultrasound bill, many legislators are misinformed about the provisions of the abortion clinic regulation bill. Advocates of abortion have done a good job feeding them false information and distortions of what the law would accomplish. Under current Illinois law Planned Parenthood and several other abortion providers are not required to be licensed as ASTC’s and are therefore not subject to inspections by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Several of the constituents who traveled to Springfield on Thursday had professional experience in nursing and in public health and spoke eloquently to lawmakers about the abuses in the abortion clinics and the consequences for women’s health and safety.
Supporters of HB4085 and HB4117 contend that both bills could be considered pro-woman and pro-choice because they respect the dignity and intelligence of women, while imposing minimal requirements that can potentially save unborn babies’ lives.
After meeting with their representatives, the pro-life group gathered at the Diocese of Springfield Pastoral Center to share their experiences with pro-life lobbyists Ralph Rivera, Bob Gilligan and Rev. Bob Vanden Bosch. Rivera gave an update of the status of the bills, which have had a second reading and must be voted on by March 30 or be dead for the session.
He then encouraged everyone to make follow-up visits to their representatives at their local offices, and encourage others who were unable to come to Springfield to do the same.
On the bus trip back to Chicago, everyone agreed that the 2012 Life Advocacy Day was a day well spent.