During the late hours of Oct. 28, Senate Democrats rammed through changes to the Health Care Right of Conscience Act (HCRCA) with a 31-24 vote, sending it to the Governor’s desk. The HCRCA has been a long-standing law that allows people to be protected from being forced into healthcare decisions that violate their religious or moral beliefs.
Until recently, the Governor’s nearly 100 Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic have gone mostly unchecked by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly or Illinois courts. However, based on protections provided to plaintiffs under the HCRCA, some courts appeared to be poised to rule against the Governor, which prompted the push by Democrat leaders to amend it.
The new changes to the HCRCA state that its protections do not apply when it comes to COVID-related mandates. Since the amendment was unable to garner a three-fifths majority vote in the House and Senate, the changes do not take effect until June 1, 2022. That being said, it may be used in upcoming court cases and there are indications that the General Assembly may pass an identical bill during the upcoming January session, which would give it an immediate effective date.