On Thursday the Illinois Legislature Limited Religious Objections to COVID Prevention Measures.
Miller Canfield reports:
Late on October 28, 2021, the Illinois legislature took steps to severely limit challenges to COVID-19 prevention measures. The legislature amended the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, 745 ILCS 70/1 et seq. (the “Act”), to prohibit the Act from being used as a tool to challenge COVID-19 prevention measures implemented by any person or entity. The Act allows an action for treble damages to those who are discriminated against on account of their refusal to accept or participate in medical treatment. The new amendments clarify that no action will be allowed when the refusal to accept treatment involves steps taken to reduce the risk of COVID transmission. The full text of the amendment may be found here.
The Act was originally passed in response to Roe v. Wade, with the intention of protecting health care workers from having to participate in abortions or other procedures that offended their religious principles. The Act was broadly phrased to include not only religious objections, but also conscientious objections that are part of a “set of moral convictions that … arises from a place in the life of its possessor parallel to that filled by God among adherents of religious faiths.” The Act prohibits discrimination of any kind by any person on account of a person’s refusal to participate in delivering or accepting medical services based on a conscientious objection. Recent cases had held that the anti-discrimination ban was absolute and not subject to the concepts of “reasonable accommodation” or “undue hardship” that apply to claims of disability or religious discrimination. Thus, an employee refusing to comply with a mandatory vaccination policy based on a claim of religious belief could argue that any effort by the employer to limit their activity (social distancing) or take other precautions (masking/testing) due to their unvaccinated status was unlawful discrimination under the Act without regard to whether the lack of compliance constituted an undue risk to others, or the additional restrictions were reasonable.
Governor Pritzker of Illinois is expected to sign the bill as reported at the City Square.
Changes are coming to a state law prohibiting discrimination against people for conscientiously objecting to medical procedures in the name of enforcing COVID-19 mandates, but the changes won’t go into effect until July 1, 2022.
The Health Care Right of Conscience Act that’s been on the books in Illinois state statute for decades prohibits discrimination against anyone for objecting to a medical procedure for religious reasons.
Over the past 20 months, COVID-19 mandates from Gov. J.B. Pritzker have evolved, including a mandate for health care workers and educators get vaccinated. In Chicago, thousands of police could be punished for not complying with the mayor’s vaccine mandate…
… It’s expected the governor will sign the measure.
“We have effective tools to fight this pandemic – namely, vaccines, masks and testing – and all of our communities are safer when we use the public health and workplace safety protocols we know to work,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement.
These people really don’t like freedom of religion. They are really sick.
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