Trial Begins in Federal Court Case Challenging Illinois' Unconstitutional Abortion Referral Requirements

September 19, 2023

(September 19, 2023 – Rockford, Illinois) Thomas More Society attorneys will be available to the media for comment following the first day of the bench trial in the case challenging Illinois’ violation of the conscience rights of pro-life doctors and pregnancy help ministries. Schroeder v. Treto, Jr. challenges the 2016 amendment of the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, which attempts to force medical and counseling personnel to promote abortion regardless of their ethical or moral views.

The offending law, known as SB 1564, requires those who conscientiously object to involvement in abortion to adopt policies that provide women who ask for abortions with a list of providers “they reasonably believe may offer” them. There is no requirement for abortion vendors to provide life-affirming resources or referrals. In 2107, a federal court issued a statewide preliminary injunction to halt enforcement of the law, which has stood for six years. The case now proceeds to a bench trial before United States District Court Judge Iain D. Johnston.

Thomas Olp, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President, explained:

“Our clients have spent decades helping women choose life for their unborn babies. This law targets pro-life physicians and pregnancy centers, which do not refer for abortion, and whose pro-life mission is to advise clients of abortion alternatives such as parenting and adoption. But the law forces center personnel to discuss supposed ‘benefits’ of abortion with clients and, upon request, to refer them to an abortion provider or give information about such providers. This law only targets those who, like our clients, conscientiously oppose discussing so-called benefits of abortion and referring for abortion and leaves non-conscientious objectors unregulated. Our clients view this as a nefarious attempt by the abortion industry to protect its abortion business by silencing pro-life physicians and pregnancy resource centers, that, without a profit motive, try to convince pregnant women to choose life for their unborn child—not abortion.”

: Oral argument in Schroeder v. Treto, Jr. will be heard in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois as the case’s bench trial begins – Thomas More Society Attorneys will be available to the media after court is dismissed for the day on September 20, 2023.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at 9:30 a.m. (Central), expected to continue through September 22.

WHERE: Stanley J. Roszkowski United States Courthouse, 327 S Church St, Rockford, Illinois 61101 MAP:


· Thomas Olp, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President

· Patrick Gillen, Thomas More Society Special Counsel

· Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President & Head of Litigation


· United States District Court Judge Iain Johnston

The complaint in Schroeder v. Treto, Jr., was originally filed June 21, 2017 by Thomas More Society attorneys in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, on behalf of obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Ronald L. Schroeder, and pro-life pregnancy help ministries 1st Way Pregnancy Support Services and Pregnancy Aid

South Suburbs, and sues Mario Treto, Jr., Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.