Lowlights of the RHA

July 3, 2019

New “Reproductive Health Act” Narrows the Definition of “Viability” and Makes Other Changes to Existing Law, Expanding Late-Term Abortions

OVERVIEW. The Reproductive Health Act, SB 25, HFA 1 (“RHA“) narrows the definition of “viability” of the unborn child, establishes an expansive definition of “health” of the mother, and makes other changes.  These changes make it much easier for abortion providers to perform late-term abortions without any meaningful restrictions or oversight.  In general, once an unborn baby reaches viability, an abortion can only be performed when the abortion is “necessary to protect the life or health of the mother.” Abortions on the pre-viable are not subject to any such standard.  As such, viability is an important milestone to establish some level of consideration for the life of the unborn.  An Executive Summary of key points are as follows.

  • RHA narrows the definition of “viability.”  Under existing law, the term “viability” means “that stage of fetal development when, in the medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular facts of the case before him, there is a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the fetus outside the womb, with or without artificial support.” (Illinois Abortion Act of 1975 as amended) (720 ILCS 510/2(1)).
  • RHA Section 1-10 replaces the term “viability” with “fetal viability” and amends the definition under existing law in four (4) key ways. 

1) RHA allows any health care professional (not just a physician) to make the judgment on viability.  This opens the door for physician’s assistants and advanced practice registered nurses to make these critical decisions.

2) RHA raises the standard and provides that there must be a substantial likelihood (not just a reasonable likelihood) of the sustained survival of the fetus outside the womb. 

3) RHA adds the qualifier that the fetus only has sustained viability outside the womb if the continued life would happen “without the application of extraordinary medical measures.”  Since the term “extraordinary medical measures” is not defined, and since non-physicians can make the judgment, the healthcare professional could make a wide range of biased decisions on the question of what is an extraordinary medical measure (e.g., perhaps considering measures such as phototherapy for jaundice, breathing support, or even an IV as qualifying).

4) RHA repeals a key clarification in existing law, namely that the unborn can attain sustained viability “with or without artificial support.”  In particular, under existing law, the mere fact that the unborn child would need artificial support (even extraordinary measures) would not disqualify the child as being viable. 

  • RHA’s changes to “viability/fetal viability” narrows the definition materially and results in fewer unborn children that qualify as viable. Although it is difficult to quantify given the newness of the language, for illustration purposes, if the application of current law results in unborn children of 22 weeks of gestation to be deemed viable, RHA’s changes raises that standard to perhaps 28 weeks of gestation or higher.  This makes it easier for abortion providers to perform abortions on unborn children of 22 to 28 weeks of gestation without having to justify that the abortion is necessary to protect the life or health of the mother.
  • RHA includes an expansive definition of “health.”  RHA Section 1-10 establishes an expansive definition of “health” to make it easier for an abortion provider to decide, even if the unborn child is viable, that the abortion is necessary for the “health” of the mother.  Current law does not define “health,” but RHA establishes an expansive definition of “health” that includes “all factors that are relevant to the patient’s health and well-being, including, but not limited to, physical, emotional, psychological, and familial health and age.”  In particular, the inclusion of the term “familial” would allow the nurse, physician-assistant, or physician making this critical decision on health to take into consideration factors beyond the mother’s health, such as the health or even squabbling of her siblings, parents, or other family members.       
  • RHA repeals detailed certification and reporting obligations.  Under current law, the physician must certify in a signed writing the medical indicators that support the determination that a post-viability abortion is necessary for the life or health of the mother. (720 ILCS 510/5(2)).  This report, along with specified detailed information – including any complications, whether the abortion resulted in a live birth, and other information – must be reported to the Department of Health. (720 ILCS 510/10). If additional information becomes known after submission of the report (e.g., additional complications), the physician must update the report to the Department of Health within 10 days of becoming aware of the information.  (720 ILCS 510/10).
  • RHA Section 1-25 greatly diminishes these certification and reporting requirements.  Neither the physician, nor any other health care professional, needs to certify in a signed writing as to the medical indicators or other reasons that supported their decision on the question of viability. RHA Section 1-25(b).  It appears there would be some version of reporting obligation that should use a specified Department of Health form, but the obligation does not attach to the physician or other health care professional, and instead is set in the passive voice (so it would be difficult to enforce), namely that a “report of each abortion performed by a healthcare professional shall be made to the Department on forms prescribed by it.”  RHA Section 1-25(b).  With this standard, the receptionist at the abortion clinic could prepare and submit reports. 
  • Surprisingly, the RHA specifies that the Department of Health could not use the abortion provider’s report for any kind of follow-up inquiry or investigation, and instead would only be able to “use the reports for statistical purposes only.”  RHA would also specify that such “reports must be destroyed within 2 years after date of receipt.”  RHA Section 1-25(d).  Clearly, there is no desire to allow the Department of Health to do any actual enforcement or oversight to protect women’s health or safety, even in instances of complications or sub-standard care.
  • RHA repeals penalties for non-compliance by physicians and health care professionals.  RHA also repeals a broad range of express penalties set forth in the Illinois Abortion Act of 1975.  For example, it is a Class 2 felony for a physician to perform an abortion on a viable unborn child without making a determination on the necessity of such procedure for the life or health of the mother.  (720 ILCS 510/5(1)).  RHA repeals these penalties for non-compliance, which further reinforces that there is no desire to establish a meaningful regulatory environment that protects the health of women and girls. 
  • The RHA may even effectively challenge the Parental Notice of Abortion Law.     
  • More ramifications will be listed as the RHA is applied in Illinois.


ICE-PAC’s Summer Social

June 13, 2019
Click here to get more information and to purchase tickets

Sponsored by:

International Catholic Media Association

John & Mary Anne Hackett

Illinois Legislators Pass SB 25, the so-called Reproductive Health Act

June 3, 2019

The Illinois House & Illinois Senate were on the wrong side of history, passing extreme and anti-woman legislation in the so-called Reproductive Health Act.

We are grateful for all of the legislators who had the courage to vote No or Present on the Reproductive Health Act, standing with courage in the face of incredible pressure to our clinic profits above the safety of women and girls.

Those promoting this bill stand to financially profit from it – abortionists, and those whose campaigns are funded by them. But we see down the road the great harm that will come from the expansion of late-term abortions, the deregulation of abortion facilities, lack of transparency in reporting requirements, and the repeal of common sense regulations on abortion providers. Pro-life and reasonable pro-choice people came together to express concern, but we couldn’t overcome the money behind this bill.

Soon, we will hear reports of:

  • More women harmed from abortion complications
  • Lack of transparency and substandard care for women going to abortion facilities
  • Religious institutions forced into health insurance plans that cover abortion
  • Women pressured into post-viability abortions for reasons of “Familial Health”

The Illinois House and Senate have voted to put clinic profits above the safety of women and girls. We know some of those who voted Yes today think they are helping women. We stand ready to assist with common sense legislation that truly reflects the will of the people of Illinois when you discover your  mistake.

SB 25 Senate Vote:  34 Yes – 20 No – 3 Present

See how the State Senators voted  

See how the State Representatives voted

Time to make one last attempt…for the sake of life!

Flood the Governor’s Phone Lines before he signs SB 25 into law
217-782-6830 (Springfield) 
312-814-2121 (Chicago)

SB 25 was amended last minute and provided several legislators reason to now support it.
Unfortunately, the bill is nearly as extreme as original version. Apart from including conscience protections (which will likely be challenged) The bill leaves key controversial aspects, particularly in regards to the definition of “viability” and “health of the mother.”

During legislative hearings and debates, the bill proponents have yet to produce one scenario where a pregnant woman wouldn’t be refused for an abortion on a late term, completely health baby.

Girls’ Health First responded in quick fashion by creating an important fact sheet. It was quickly distributed to key legislators in the House and Senate.

You can download it here.

The information will be useful to discuss with your legislators, church leaders, and family/friends.

It’s important the general public knows what’s coming to Illinois.

State Legislators, in conjunction with the abortion lobby, released two extreme bills designed to “normalize” abortion in Illinois

February 20, 2019
As promised by the abortion lobby of Illinois, radical pro-abortion state representatives and state senators are working hard to “normalize” abortion in Illinois.  House Bill 2467/Senate Bill 1594 and  House Bill 2495/Senate Bill 1492 were introduced in the Illinois General Assembly on February 2019.
ICE-PAC opposes these bills and warns every legislator who supports them that there will be political consequences.
HB2495 Reproductive Health Act (the same name of the radical pro-abortion bill signed into law by Andrew Cuomo of New York),  was introduced by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D), Rep. Chris Welch (D), and Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D). This bill repeals the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.
  • Repeals the Illinois Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act!  Yes, Repeals 100%!
  • Allows abortion up to the moment of birth, for any reason, or no reason.
  • Declares that the unborn child has no rights under the law.
  • Eliminates any restrictions on where abortions may be performed.
  • Allows self-abortions.
  • Requires private insurance plans to cover abortions at no charge to the patient! None! Not even a co-pay!  No exception for churches, religious non-profits, or pro-life small businesses.  Plus, No exception for self-insured plans and no exemptions based on any rights of conscience. None!
  • Repeals the Abortion Performance Refusal Act, which removes protection for nurses, doctors, and hospitals against professional repercussions for refusing to participate in abortions.  Even faith-based hospitals aren’t protected.
  • Lifts the ban on sale of an experimentation on a fetus and the requirements to obtain consent of a pregnant woman before experimenting on the organ and tissue of her aborted baby.
  • The legislation paves the way for public funding of abortion to the moment of birth, even for elective abortions. 
  • Removes the requirement that a medical doctor must do the abortion, or even be present. It allows anyone supervised by someone permitted by law to administer healthcare, within the scope of training and practice!!
  • Removes all existing licensing requirements and standards for abortion clinics, including late-term abortion clinics. So much for “Safe.”
  • Removes coroner powers with respect to maternal or fetal death due to abortion.
  • Removes ‘abortion’ from fetal death statute.
  • Removes penalties for performing an abortion on a woman who is not pregnant.
  • Prohibits legal action against mother of an unborn child for drug use during pregnancy.
  • Removes the statute requiring physician’s prescription before getting the abortion pills.
  • Strips the unborn child of any independent rights under the law.
  • Eliminates requirements to report annual abortion numbers to the public; in other words no one will know how many abortions are performed or how many out-of-state minors have traveled for their abortion in Illinois.
HB2467 Parental Notice Abortion-Repeal, introduced by Rep. Chris Welch (D).  This bill repeals the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995. Makes corresponding changes in the Counties Code, the Medical Practice Act of 1987, and the Consent by Minors to Medical Procedures Act.

So, get this:  A 15 year old girl needs parental permission to get an aspirin at school, get an ear pierced, see an R rated movie, and get a tattoo….but that same girl can walk into any abortion clinic and end the life of her baby………… without a parent even required to know!

In a nutshell, if this bill passes, the government will take nearly all power away from parents and hand it to:

  • coercive boyfriends
  • sex traffickers
  • bullies
  • classmates
  • educators
Even without these outside pressures from society, no girl should be making decisions regarding the killing of an unborn baby without a parent involved.  You don’t have to be anti-abortion to understand this.
The bills are expected to pass the democrat super-majority led house and senate, unless there is an outpouring of public outrage.
So, it goes without saying that you must take action. Contact your elected officials now.

Christmas Season Message

December 24, 2018

The 2018 election season seemed like a real letdown for people concerned for the sanctity of life in Illinois.  First, Jeanne Ives narrowly lost to Bruce Rauner in the gubernatorial primary after millions of dollars was spent in misleading advertising against her.  Then, we lost the representation of some great state representatives (like Peter Breen), giving a super majority to Mike Madigan and the Democrat Party, which vows to remove any and all restrictions on abortion, while advancing a culture of death.

Here’s what is at stake in 2019 and 2020:

  • Potential reversal of the parental notice law (which mandates that parents are informed if their minor daughter is considering abortion)
  • Double down on taxpayer funding of abortion
  • Legalized assisted suicide

How did we get here?  The abortion industry (led by Personal PAC – Planned Parenthood’s political arm) spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in helping to defeat pro-life candidates like Peter Breen and others with misleading and false ads.  The Republican Party, unfortunately, let the attacks go unanswered, not running any ads defending the pro-life position, let alone going on the attack to point out the extreme position of the pro-abortion candidates; hence, allowing Personal PAC to dictate the narrative on the abortion issue.  It doesn’t work to allow the abortion industry to define the narrative.

We cannot sit back and let the abortion lobby tell the only story of abortion in important elections.  Sitting back and being politically silent on such an important issue, central to most elections these days, is irresponsible.  It’s the most important moral issue of our age!  Just how we proclaim the story of the birth of Christ from the hilltops, so must we proclaim the sanctity of all human life.  It’s simply a winning message!

This is why the ICE-PAC board has decided to invest even more in campaigning and lobbying.  We already started by spending more funds in 2018 than in any other year on pro-life outreach and advertising to support our endorsed candidates.  Over $30,000!

We then hired a full-time executive director (David Avignone) to drive our mission forward.  David has eight years of campaign experience, seven years of fundraising experience, and nineteen years experience in non-profit and for-profit management combined.

We’re growing and becoming more relevant every year!  We’re enthusiastic about ICE-PAC’s future, so we have a lofty goal for our supporters this Christmas Season!

Help us reach $25,000 with a truly sacrificial gift this Christmas season, ending on January 13, 2019 when we celebrate Christ’s Baptism and when we March for Life in Chicago.  




Whether $50 or $5,000,  Your sacrificial gift this Christmas to support our mission is needed and will be appreciated…and it will be effective!

Have a wonderful Christmas Season,

Mary- Louise Hengesbaugh

David Avignone 
Executive Director

PS.  Join us at our event following the March for Life Chicago.  Click HERE for more information.


March for Life Chicago Afterparty

December 21, 2018

“Is Nothing Sacred?”

October 24, 2018

Pro-Abortion Candidate Terra Costa Howard is Outraged for being Outed on Abortion and Taxes

State Representative Peter Breen has served the residents of the 48th District with distinction for the past four years.  His low-tax, pro-life views are representative of the majority of his constituents.  His opponent, Terra Costa Howard, is pro-high-taxes and supports taxpayer-funded abortion.  In exchange, Ms. Howard has received over $600,000 of support from forces aligned with Democrat House Speaker Mike Madigan and pro-abortion groups.  Much of that money has gone to attack Representative Breen.

Over the weekend, a flier created and paid for by ICE-PAC and several pro-life groups was distributed in the 48th District to counter the false attacks on Representative Breen.  The flier, which can be viewed below, contrasts Breen’s views on the issues with Howard’s and were distributed at multiple locations, including Catholic and other churches and houses or worship.  The feedback was very positive because Representative Breen shares the view of most of his constituents, who favor low-taxes and don’t want their tax dollars to be used to pay for abortions.  Our goal is to educate people on what the candidates stand for on these issues.

In response, Ms. Howard posted the following on her social media page:

“Is nothing sacred?

This Sunday morning after Mass, my parents and I caught Breen supporters stuffing misleading political flyers onto the windshields of cars parked in Catholic church parking lots.

I think it is unconscionable for a politician to jeopardize our churches’ tax-exempt status by bringing partisan politics onto church property. Peter Breen owes an apology to our Diocese, to our churches, and to every parishioner whose Sunday morning mass was tainted by his attempt to pervert our faith into a political weapon.

If you agree, please send an email to the bishop, at”Ms. Howard — a politician who wants to raise your taxes and then use those dollars to pay for abortions in Illinois — asked “Is nothing sacred?”.  Our response is:  Yes — Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.  And having an informed electorate.

She also released a statement, to announce she wrote a letter to Bishop Conlon, of the Diocese of Joliet, calling on him to intervene.

Ms. Howard — a politician who wants to raise your taxes and then use those dollars to pay for abortions in Illinois — asked “Is nothing sacred?”.  Our response is:  Yes — Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.  And having an informed electorate.

The following letter was sent by ICE-PAC to Bishop Conlon, as a response to Howard’s letter to him and request Bishop Conlon to denounce these efforts, particularly at the Catholic parish that she belongs to in Glen Ellyn.

Subject: Our flyer on the Breen-Howard race

Your Excellency,

I’m the Chair of Illinois Citizens for Ethics, a small political action committee. Last weekend, we leafleted cars in some church parking lots in your diocese with a comparison piece that respectfully presents the positions on several issues of two candidates for State Representative in district 48: State Representative Peter Breen and his opponent, Terra Costa Howard. I have attached the document for your reference.

From her posting on Facebook, I see that Terra Costa Howard has urged her supporters to email you objecting to this and instructing you to tell Peter Breen to apologize. However, my organization drafted text, paid for printing, and recruited volunteers to distribute the flyer. We did this because Terra Costa Howard is a candidate with extreme anti-life positions that she is skillfully concealing from voters. In fact, she is endorsed by Personal PAC, the powerful and well-funded political action committee of the Illinois abortion industry. In order to obtain their endorsement, a candidate must pledge to oppose all common sense regulations on abortion and support public funding for abortion – that is, abortions basically for free, paid for by every taxpayer. Terra Costa Howard even has pledged to vote to repeal the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act. Since this law took effect, abortions on minor girls have plummeted by thousands each year. This law protects a parent’s right to know and be able to help their children in a time of crisis. This law is also crucial for protecting minor girls from sexual predators who use secret abortions to conceal evidence of their crimes.

Howard’s campaign has received almost $150,00 from Personal PAC, and over $600,000 from Michael Madigan. They’ve been using these funds to unfairly attack Breen, who is Catholic, on issues related to our faith, such as the sanctity of human life. We’re a small PAC and several of us, myself included, are parishioners in the Diocese of Joliet and local to Breen’s area. We can’t compete with the money she’s receiving for TV ads and paid walkers going door to door, but we do believe voters deserve to know the truth about the candidates’ positions. Everything in the document we distributed is true.

Peter Breen has served as a State Representative for four years with great integrity, and has been steadfast in his defense of the most vulnerable. His outstanding record has earned him the endorsements of the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. We hope that our efforts to save innocent human lives and protect women from the grief of abortion did not offend you. Thank you for your service to our Church.

Mary-Louise Hengesbaugh 
Chair, Illinois Citizens for Ethics PAC



To learn more about Peter Breen’s courageous  work as a State Representative in support of family values, we encourage you to visit

Breen’s Notable Pro-Life Endorsements

  • Lake County Life PAC
  • Illinois Citizens for Life PAC
  • Illinois Citizens for Ethics PAC
  • Illinois Family Action PAC
  • Family PAC


We need your time and financial support to re-elect Peter Breen.

VOLUNTEER-Dan-2016   DONATE-Dan-2016

Your support will help us educate voters in the 48th district regarding our shared family values.



A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board’s official website ( or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.

2018 General Election Endorsements

October 22, 2018

2018 Endorsed Illinois House and Senate District Candidates 

ICE-PAC supports Illinois candidates who will make and keep commitments to promote and protect laws that will reduce the number of abortions in our state, value human life, advance family stability, and honor traditional marriage.  

Mary-Louise Hengesbaugh, Chairman of ICE-PAC, states, “Illinois Citizens for Ethics has an outstanding track record of identifying candidates who will be effective advocates for the cause of life, and providing meaningful support to get them over the top to victory. We’re proud of our “ICE-PAC grads” – men and women who are transforming the culture in the Illinois General Assembly, including Jeanne Ives, Tom Morrison, Dan McConchie, David McSweeney and Peter Breen.”  

“Illinois has been thrown into a state of moral and fiscal chaos and decline, in large part due to the poor vision and policy put forth by failing legislators in Springfield,” stated Hengesbaugh.  “These high-quality candidates have demonstrated that they will stand up for mainstream values important for life and family, and provide effective and grounded leadership to right the helm and get Illinois back on track.”  

Illinois Citizens for Ethics, a bi-partisan grassroots based political action committee, is dedicated to supporting the following high-quality candidates. 

42nd House District  Amy Grant (R) 
46th House District  Gordon (Jay) Kinzler (R) 
48th House District  Peter Breen (R) 
49th House District  Tonia Khouri (R) 
53rd House District  Eddie Corrigan (R) 
54th House District  Tom Morrison (R) 
55th House District  Marilyn Smolenski (R) 
61st House District  Sheri Jesiel (R) 
65th House District  Dan Ugaste (R) 
79th House District  Lindsay Parkhurst (R) | Lisa M. Dugan (D) 
97th House District  Mark Batinick (R) 
112th House District  Dwight Kay (R) 
116th House District  Jerry Costello II (D) | David Friess (R) 
117th House District  Dave Severin (R) | Jason Woolard (D) 
118th House District  Natalie Phelps Finnie (D) | Patrick Windhorst (R) 
26th Senate District  Dan McConchie (R) 

Financial contributions made to ICE-PAC up until Friday, November 2 will go directly to help our endorsed candidates.  Thank you for your support of our mission.

“Turn the Tide” Fall Fundraiser

September 18, 2018

Illinois Citizens for Ethics PAC


“Turn the Tide” – A Fall Fundraising Social

Sunday, October 7

4:30-7:00 pm

Glen Oak Country Club

Glen Ellyn, Illinois

You are cordially invited to a reception to benefit ICE-PAC’S mission and help support excellent candidates for office this Fall!

Join us for lively conversation, engaging speakers, cocktails, and heavy hors d’oeuvres in a beautiful setting as we raise funds for a great cause… To elect and re-elect politicians of integrity who support mainstream values important for Life and Family.

Plus, State Representative and former Gubernatorial Candidate Jeanne Ives, and Talk Show Host Dan Proft, will mingle with guests and give short talks on the state of politics today and hope for the future. Plus, we’ll share some big news on the direction of our organization.

ICE-PAC is on the front lines defending outstanding pro-life candidates against the Madigan Machine and the abortion lobby.

Great pro-life/pro-family representatives are under attack this year, fueled by money from the abortion lobby. Check out this news coverage of Peter Breen. It will give you a sense of what they’re up against this fall.

They’ve got millions, but we have a track record of wins when good people like you give generously and get involved. Help us turn the tide to victory this Fall!


ICE-PAC Victorious in 7 of 9 Races for 2014 Primary Elections

March 21, 2014

Our voices were heard loud and clear this primary season! Seven of the nine candidates endorsed by Illinois Citizens for Ethics PAC won in Tuesday’s primary elections for the Illinois House, while another race was decided the following day because it was so close!

Thank you for your role in making this happen, through your financial support, volunteer efforts and spreading the word on these great candidates. Illinoisans showed that they turn out and vote for candidates that represent the “mainstream values important for life and family” that ICE-PAC promotes.

So, don’t be fooled. The candidates that are visible advocates for policies that protect and promote the family, the unborn, pregnant women, and authentic marriage were the BIG WINNERS. And in turn, the Illinois people won as well.

2014 PRIMARY RESULTS     (winner in bold)



In summary:

  • 7 out of 9 ICE-PAC endorsed candidates won.
  • We knocked off a pro-abortion incumbent of 12 years.
  • We had a major role with our fundraising and activism in mobilizing volunteers and community support.
  • We almost knocked off a pro-gay-marriage incumbent – lost by less than 150 votes.
  • Overall a great day for anyone who believes in mainstream values important for life and family.

Your support matters! These candidates did not do it alone. They had help from organizations like ICE-PAC, who encourage them to take a conservative stand on social issues, while defending them from attacks from liberal candidates and organizations.

Thank you for supporting ICE-PAC, the biggest and best grassroots pro-family political action committee in Illinois.