Thursday, December 2, 2021

Pritzker signs COVID-19 amendment to Illinois conscience law

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday changed the law in the Illinois Health Care Right of Consciousness Act that would allow people who take the COVID-19 vaccine to potentially face repercussions. will allow

The law was adopted in 1978 to protect physicians from punishment or discipline for refusing to perform an abortion because of a religious or moral objection. Democratic Attorney General Kwame Raul asked Pritzker to encourage the law to clarify that the law was not meant to cover up a contagious and deadly pandemic.

“Masks, vaccines and testing requirements are the life-saving measures that keep our workplaces and communities safe,” said Pritzker, who thanked lawmakers for ensuring the law “is no longer used unfairly against those institutions.” who are putting safety and science first.”

lawsuits have been filed Claims by employees that they cannot be punished for refusing to shoot because the law provides for discretion-based exemptions. Some activists have even claimed exemption from taking preventive measures such as wearing face coverings or testing for corona virus infection.

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Democrats insist that religious exemptions still exist under federal law, although experts dispute the availability. The Pritzker’s office cited such exceptions under three federal statutes.

Exemptions are being given under the Civil Rights Act across the country. Maine and New York have two major ongoing cases implementing the Free Exercise of Religion clause of the US Constitution. Both could be headed for the US Supreme Court.

“I hope this provides clarity to the situation as we work to protect the public’s health and leave behind this pandemic that has taken so much from us,” said Oak Park Democrat Senate President Don Harmon.

The law does not take effect until June 1, 2022. Democrats wanted the date effective immediately, but the state constitution required more votes than they could have achieved in a floor action. Republican critics claim that leaves the door open for more lawsuits. Another vote after January 1 could take the law into effect because fewer votes would be needed.

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Follow political writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor

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