The Catholic bishop in Springfield, Illinois, banned Holy Communion to Catholic lawmakers who voted for an extreme abortion law that also repeals decades-old restrictions on abortions in Illinois.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki issued the decree on June 2. Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, both Catholics, have been barred from getting Holy Communion at local Catholic churches in the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, WGN9 reported.

“Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan, who facilitated the passage of the Act Concerning Abortion of 2017 (House Bill 40) as well as the Reproductive Health Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 25), are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois because they have obstinately persisted in promoting the abominable crime and very grave sin of abortion as evidenced by the influence they exerted in their leadership roles and their repeated votes and obdurate public support for abortion rights over an extended period of time,” Bishop Thomas Paprocki wrote.

“These persons may be readmitted to Holy Communion only after they have truly repented these grave sins and furthermore have made suitable reparation for damages and scandal, or at least have seriously promised to do so, as determined in my judgment or in the judgment of their diocesan bishop in consultation with me or my successor,” the bishop added.

SB 25 summarized

The law in question is SB 25, the Illinois Reproductive Health Act (IRHA), a sweeping abortion rights bill that establishes a woman’s “fundamental right” to have an abortion, and states that a “fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights.”

Basically, Senate Bill 25 gives women in Illinois the right to choose or refuse birth control and/or abortions, and the right to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth. It also amends requirements for private insurance companies to pay for abortions for those covered. In the past, it only required insurance companies to cover contraception, fertility treatments, and maternity care.

Public medical coverage through Medicaid and government employers in Illinois have had and continue to have abortion covered and are not affected by SB 25.

SB 25 also repeals the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 (IBL), eliminating waiting periods, spousal consent, criminal penalties for abortion providers, and restrictions on abortion facilities. And it also repeals the long-blocked Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (PBABA) in Illinois.

SB 25 is awaiting the approval of Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is expected to sign it, yet may not sign it if he has a change of heart.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a state Capitol news conference in Springfield, Ill., as state Treasurer Michael Frerichs looks on, on Jan. 23, 2019. SB 25, the Illinois Reproductive Health Act is a sweeping abortion rights bill, which is awaiting the approval Pritzker who is expected to sign it, yet may not sign it if he has a change of heart. (John O’Connor/AP Photo, File)

Older Illinois anti-abortion laws

Like many other states with similar laws, the Illinois Abortion Law (IAL) was established in 1975 to exact criminal penalties to anyone, licensed or not, performing abortions in the state of Illinois. This means that abortions have been illegal according to Illinois state laws.

Both the IAL and Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (PBABA) have been enjoined in the courts, but because of federal regulations allowing abortions in the United States, IBL and PBABA are not enforceable, yet they have remained on the books in Illinois until now. Establishing the IRHA would repeal these older regulations altogether. Repealing these older laws is more of a statement than an act of change.

The Catholic Church is pro-life

The Catholic Church is pro-life, as are all orthodox religious organizations. Abortion is not viewed as an option, ever.

Partial-birth abortion, which the Catholic Church believes is an abominable sin—breaking one of God’s Ten Commandments that the Catholic Church upholds—is the killing of a baby before being completely removed from the mother. In most instances, the baby is partially removed from the mother’s womb because it has grown too large, and thus killing it inside the woman is more complicated. Thus, the baby is pulled out about 80 percent of the way, and its skull is crushed before being removed.

This procedure is performed usually after the baby is 22 weeks and on, in what are considered late-term abortions, nearing the end of the second trimester and past the third, even until the day of birth.

Healthy infants are able to survive being born after 24 weeks of gestation. Some babies have survived with assistance being born after 21 weeks of gestation.

The argument of when a gestating baby can be considered a human life and has rights to live is an argument usually had by pro-abortion advocates. However, those vehemently against abortion argue that taking life at any stage of gestation is killing, and thus a crime.

Newborn infant’s feet. (Shutterstock)

Lawmakers with similar views are seen in Congress fighting against abortion laws on both sides of the House—Republican and Democrat.

The abortion of a nonviable infant is an extremely charged act as it is, thus adding the killing of viable infants, is seen as an act of infanticide and euthanasia of a minor by pro-life advocates.

Not up for debate

Bishop Paprocki issued a statement on June 6, that said, “In issuing this decree, I anticipate that some will point out the Church’s own failings with regard to the abuse of children.”

“The same justifiable anger we feel toward the abuse of innocent children, however, should prompt an outcry of resistance against legalizing the murder of innocent children. The failings of the Church do not change the objective reality that the murder of a defenseless baby is an utterly evil act.

“We also understand many unplanned pregnancies come with fear and difficulty,” Paprocki acknowledged.

“It is our obligation, as a society, to be there for these pregnant mothers, help them in any way possible, and empower them to make life-affirming decisions. This also includes continued support for the mother and her child after birth. We must acknowledge a child in the womb is not a problem. He or she is a gift from God.”

In 2018, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was banned from Holy Communion as well, for advocating the legal protection of abortion.