Gov. Pritzker amends Health Care Right of Conscience Act to prevent exceptions from vaccine mandate

Coronavirus Watch Illinois

ILLINOIS (WEHT) – Governor JB Pritzker signed an amendment to the Health Care Right of Conscience Act to prevent state residents from using it to get out of the state’s vaccine mandate.

The amendment prevents the law from being used to avoid penalties for refusing to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The change comes after lawsuits have been filed by employees claiming they can’t be punished for refusing the shot because the law provides a conscience based exception.

“Masks, vaccines, and testing requirements are life-saving measures that keep our workplaces and communities safe,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Keeping workplaces safe is a high priority, and I applaud the General Assembly for ensuring that the Health Care Right of Conscience Act is no longer wrongly used against institutions who are putting safety and science first.”

The Health Care Right of Conscience Act was originally enacted in 1978 to allow medical professionals to refuse to receive or participate in healthcare services that are contrary to their personal beliefs, including religious or moral objections to specific services, such as abortion. The law explicitly reiterates federal protections of sincerely held religious objections.

The new amendment will be effective June 1, 2022.

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