Rep. Wheeler votes to protect conscience rights in health care decisions, no on repeal of parental notification, against partisan congressional redistricting

Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) issued the following statements after the Illinois House of Representatives voted this week to weaken conscience protections in state law with regard to health care decisions (SB 1169), repeal the state’s parental notification law (HB 370), and approve new congressional district maps for the next 10 years (HB 1291):

SB 1169 – Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act

“Conscience rights are protected by state law for a reason. To guarantee the right of each individual to make personal health care decisions for himself or herself based on their own conscience or sincerely held beliefs. The Democratic majority’s actions have weakened those rights as they pertain to patients. Most immediately, public employees including our police officers, fire fighters, health care workers, school employees and those who work at correctional facilities are at risk of losing their jobs if they do not comply with executive mandates issued by the Governor and the Mayor of Chicago. From the start of the pandemic until now, Democrats called these folks our “frontline heroes”. Now they have voted to allow these heroes to be fired for exercising their conscience rights which until now have been protected by state law. This is outrageous and offensive. We challenged the bill’s sponsor on this issue both in committee and during debate on the House Floor to no avail. I voted no to support the right of every individual in Illinois to make their own health care decisions; and I stand with all those who do not want to give up their conscience rights as a condition to continue serving our community and our state.”

HB 370 – Repeal of Parental Notice of Abortion Act

“Parental notification ensures a parent or guardian knows when their child has made the life-altering decision to get an abortion with all its physical and emotional consequences that no girl should ever have to face alone. Current law does not even require parental consent, only simple notification by the health care provider. In Illinois, we require parent involvement for a minor under age 18 to get a tattoo, a drivers’ license, or to have Tylenol in school. Tragically, the Governor and the Democratic majority believe children should be able to have an abortion without a parent even knowing. By denying parents’ right to be informed about serious medical decisions their daughter is making, the Governor and Democrats in the legislature are actively undermining the ability of families to provide support for girls immediately prior to, during and after a major medical procedure. That is why I voted against repeal.”

HB 1291 – Congressional Redistricting

“Illinois Democrats have gone back to the same old Mike Madigan playbook to pass a new congressional map for Illinois, perpetuating a broken process where politicians pick their own voters behind closed doors. It is no surprise why so many Illinois residents view our government with cynicism and skepticism, when the party in power puts their own partisan self-interest ahead of keeping communities and constituencies whole and allowing them to be fairly represented. Governor Pritzker has already broken his promise twice this year to veto any partisan-drawn map. I expect him to break his promise a third time and sign this new map. I voted against the Democrats’ sham redistricting bill and will continue to speak out in support of Fair Maps and court challenges to end gerrymandering once and for all.”

Representative Wheeler serves the 50th District which includes portions of Kane and Kendall Counties.