This week, pro-abortion advocates have set their sights on a new hire in Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s communications office, Brittany Carl, simply because she is pro-life. And because they do not like what she has to say, they are demanding that she retract some of her previous comments on abortion.
Because you’re required to give up your personal, pro-life viewpoints when you enter public office, right? Wrong.
Free speech is guaranteed to us by our Constitution – and it’s not a right that goes away when you enter public office, even if your viewpoints do not match up with the prevailing ideology.
It’s not just those in public office who are being told that they must abandon their beliefs to further the interests of government, however. Illinois in particular seems to have a problem with trying to force individuals and organizations to speak a government-mandated message.
You need look no further than a state law forcing pro-life pregnancy centers and healthcare professionals to promote abortion as a “treatment option” and to provide women with information on where they can get an abortion.
These individuals and organizations have dedicated their careers to preserving and protecting the lives of both the women they serve and their babies. To be forced to promote a practice that they are actively trying to end is insane. But that’s exactly what Illinois is trying to do.
I wish I could say that this is a trend limited to Illinois. But it’s not.
In fact, ADF is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a similar case out of California and to protect the rights of pro-life healthcare professionals to continue working in such a way that is consistent with their moral and ethical beliefs.
And in Wisconsin, we are defending a pro-life photographer and blogger who, under Madison law, could be forced to take photos and write blog posts supporting a Planned Parenthood rally or other pro-abortion organizations and events. The law says that if she wants to use her talents to promote messages that are in line with her faith, she must also use her talents to promote messages that conflict with her faith. So, if she wants to use her talents to promote life, she could face severe financial penalties if she refuses to also promote pro-abortion messages.
“The government is out of line when it attempts to force Americans to communicate a message that is contrary to their most deeply held beliefs,” said ADF Legal Counsel Elissa Graves.
And Illinois is certainly out of line.
That’s why ADF is hard at work in the legal system to ensure that our constitutional freedoms are upheld by our government officials. Halting the enforcement of bad laws like the one in Illinois is certainly a step in the right direction.