One of the ways in which Bill Clinton presented himself as a “New Democrat” was his insistence that he wanted abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare.”  Twenty-four years after Clinton’s election to the presidency, the national Democratic Party has given up any attempt to claim that they believe abortion is anything other than a positive good.  Abortion is no longer a “necessary evil” or an “unavoidable tragedy” or any of the other phrases designed both to acknowledge and to hide the reality of the act; today, as another Clinton vies for the highest office in the land, abortion is “healthcare,” pure and simple.  That it leads to the death of one human being and the emotional and spiritual scarring of others can no longer be admitted, because the ideology of the culture of death brooks no opposition.

Yet the sea change on abortion is not confined to the Democrats.  Here in the great state of Illinois, harbinger of America’s economically and morally bankrupt future, a Republican governor is poised to sign into law SB1564, an amendment to the Health Care Right of Conscience Act that will, in fact, require physicians and healthcare workers to go against their consciences and refer patients for morally objectionable “procedures,” chief among them surgical and chemical abortion.  Furthermore, the physician whose conscience is being “protected” must also provide medical records on his patient to the other “health care provider”—in this case, an abortionist—thus increasing his level of material cooperation in a morally objectionable act.

From the beginning, SB1564 has been aimed less at general practitioners and gynecologists than it has been at pregnancy-care centers, pro-life organizations that provide women with the social, emotional, spiritual, medical, and financial support to choose to carry their babies to term rather than to abort them.  Most such organizations now have medical personnel on staff or as volunteers, primarily to provide free ultrasounds.  Because of that service, they would now be required to refer clients to abortionists.  At the moment, the only alternatives appear to be to quit employing trained medical personnel who provide ultrasounds, or to shut down altogether.

After 16 months in and out of committee, and strong opposition not only from pregnancy-care centers but from pro-life physicians and Catholic hospitals throughout the state, SB1564 was abruptly scheduled for a vote on the Wednesday before Memorial Day, and passed 61–54.  Gov. Bruce Rauner will almost certainly sign it, despite having received, as a matter of course, the votes of most pro-life Illinoisans in 2014.  Like other top Republicans, he knew he could take those votes for granted, which is why he did not bother to seek pro-life endorsements during his gubernatorial campaign; instead, he attended an ACLU dinner celebrating “abortion rights.”  His wife, Diana, a lifelong Democrat, served on the host committee.

Many of the women who seek out the services of pregnancy-care centers are under intense pressure, from the father of their child (boyfriend or husband) or from their own parents, to have an abortion.  In a significant number of cases, that pressure is an attempt to cover up abuse of various kinds.  Pregnancy-care centers let those women know that they have other options and other sources of support, and medical ultrasounds give them information they can use to make up their own minds rather than to be forced into a decision they will more than likely regret.

Oddly enough, SB1564 would put Illinois at odds with Clinton-era federal legislation that guarantees that healthcare providers do not have to provide referrals to abortionists.  Rauner’s signature not only would lead to federal lawsuits but would prove that a Midwestern Republican governor in 2016 cares less about protecting women than Bill Clinton did two decades ago.  After decades of such betrayal, is it any wonder that social conservatives nationally seem willing to take a chance on Donald Trump, who at least hasn’t yet proved that he takes them for granted?