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Lawsuit Seeks To End Requirement That Private Employment Insurance Cover Abortion

Maureen Foertsch McKinney
NPR Illinois

The conservative Thomas More Society this week filed a lawsuit that in effect charges Illinois’ Reproductive Health Act violates the right to freedom of religion by forcing employers to pay for abortions.

The law, enacted a year ago, requires private employers to cover abortions. The suit, filed in Sangamon County, seeks to stop the Illinois Department of Insurance from enforcing the RHA’s insurance requirement.

Peter Breen, the chief attorney for the society, said, “We are suing to make sure that for small businesses, for churches, religious nonprofits, that they are not going to be forced into paying for something that they have a sincere and deep and significant moral objection to paying for,”’ he said,

The plaintiffs include the Illinois Baptist State Association, a south suburban dentist and a Sterling trucking company’s owner.

Kelly Cassidy, the Democratic state representative from Chicago who sponsored the bill, said she believes abortion is a fundamental right.

“A right without meaningful access is not a right. And so, ensuring that everyone has access to the same levels of care, the same quality of care, the same spectrum of care is what is important here. And insurance coverage is part of that.”

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is news editor and equity and justice beat reporter for NPR Illinois, where she has been on the staff since 2014 after Illinois Issues magazine’s merger with the station. She joined the magazine’s staff in 1998 as projects editor and became managing editor in 2003. Prior to coming to the University of Illinois Springfield, she was an education reporter and copy editor at three local newspapers, including the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in English from UIS.
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