Illinois action blog

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Governor Quinn Signs Law on Lethal Violence Against Medical Professionals

Planned Parenthood of Illinois applauds Governor Patrick Quinn for signing into law legislation that will send a strong message to those who perpetrate violence against health care professionals.

The law enhances the penalty for the first degree murder of a physician, physician assistant, psychologist, nurse, or advanced practice nurse to natural life imprisonment. Under the new law the defendant must know or should have known that the murdered individual was a physician, physician assistant, psychologist, nurse, or advanced practice nurse. Moreover, the victim must have been killed in the course of acting in his or her professional capacity, or to prevent him or her from acting in that capacity, or in retaliation for his or her acting in that capacity.

Representative Angelo “Skip” Saviano (R-River Grove) and Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) sponsored the legislation.

In May of 2009, Dr. George Tiller, an OB-GYN in Wichita, KS who provided abortions, was murdered in his church. His killer openly admitted that his motive was to stop the medical care provided by Dr. Tiller. Dr. Tiller was the fourth physician who provided abortion care to be murdered since 1993.

Since the assassination of Dr. Tiller, PPIL has seen a significant surge in the size and aggressiveness of protests in front of our health centers. PPIL has seen an increase in hostile threats via mail, packages, and phone. Because of these recent developments and the past murders of other physicians and medical staff who provided reproductive health care to women, PPIL fully supports the new law.

“We can’t wait for another terrible tragedy like the murder of Dr. Tiller to happen before strengthening our laws in Illinois,” said Carole Brite, President and CEO of PPIL. “We need to send a message now that the murder of a medical professional in order to prevent him or her from caring for patients is unacceptable and will be severely punished.”

Click here to read today's press release from PPIL.

Technorati tags: Planned Parenthood, Patrick Quinn, HB5745

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