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Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act

This law was last updated on Nov 28, 2016

This law is Anti–Choice




745 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 70/1 et seq.




Conscience and Refusal Clauses, Religious Freedom

Full Bill Text

745 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 70/1 allows health-care providers and institutions to refuse to comply with individual health-care instructions or decisions based on conscience.

The law prohibits any physician or health care personnel from being civilly or criminally liable to any person, estate, public or private entity or public official by reason of his or her refusal to perform, assist, counsel, suggest, recommend, refer or participate in any way in any particular form of health care service which is contrary to the conscience of such physician or health care personnel.

Additionally, no person, public or private institution, or public official may discriminate against any person due to that person’s conscientious refusal to participate in any way in any particular form of health care services contrary to his or her conscience.

The law defines health care to mean:

“any phase of patient care, including but not limited to, testing; diagnosis; prognosis; ancillary research; instructions; family planning, counseling, referrals, or any other advice in connection with the use of procurement of contraceptives and sterilization or abortion procedures; medication; or surgery or other care or treatment rendered by a physician or physicians, nurses, paraprofessionals or health care facility, intended for the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of persons.”

No person, association, or corporation, which owns, operates, supervises, or manages a health-care facility may be found civilly or criminally liable for refusing to permit or provide a health service that violates the facility’s governing documents.

The law, enacted in 1977, does not relieve physicians or other health-care personnel from obligations under the law of providing emergency medical care.

Patient Information Amendment

The law was amended in 2016 (with the passage of SB 1564) to require religiously affiliated facilities to inform patients in writing about health-care providers “who they reasonably believe” offer procedures that the institutions will not perform.

The amendment requires health-care facilities to adopt written access to care and information protocols that are designed to ensure that conscience-based objections to not cause impairment of a patients’ health and explain how such objections will be addressed in a timely manner to facilitate patient health-care services.

When a facility or individual chooses not to offer a procedure due to their conscience-based objections, then the patient must be provided the requested health-care service by others in the facility or be notified that the health care will not be provided and be referred, transferred or given the appropriate information.

Related Legislation

Similar to 745 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 30/1.

Related to 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 510/13.


Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit against the state on August 5, 2016, arguing the amendment violates the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the free speech rights of the Illinois Constitution.

ADF filed a second lawsuit in federal court against Gov. Bruce Rauner on September 29, 2016.