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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — A bill currently under consideration in the Illinois legislature could allow parents who deny their children access to abortion or gender-affirming services to be charged with child abuse.

House Bill 4876, introduced on February 6th by Rep. Anne Stava-Murray (D-Naperville), would amend the definition of “abused child” in the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act to mean a child whose parent or immediate family member, or any individual who lives in the same home as the child, who is denied access to abortion or gender-affirming services.

The bill, if passed, would also ensure that a medical professional carrying out abortion or transgender procedures cannot face civil or criminal liability for doing so at the request of the minor.

Under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, the Department of Children and Family Services is required to step in.

Child abuse is considered a criminal offense in Illinois. A misdemeanor can result in a year in prison and a $2,500 fine. A felony charge can result in 15 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

The Parents Matter Coalition rallied outside Rockford’s Veterans Memorial Hall on Thursday, hoping to add a statewide referendum for the November general election.

The proposal would require parental consent for children younger than 18 to receive non-emergency medical care.

Organizers say this issue is about more than being pro-life or pro-gender-affirming care.

“What we’re about is actually giving parents the right to make decisions about these matters, especially for their minor children,” said the Tracy Smodilla, director of the Right to Parent Ballot Initiative. “We already have legislation that’s on the books that is providing children as young as 12 years old to make decisions about their health care. Children as young as 12 have privacy rights over their medical records and they need to consent to their parents to even access those records.”

The coalition is touring the state to collect 500,000 signatures for the referendum.

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