A new billboard campaign organized by the Chicago Abortion Fund is drawing attention to Illinois Medicaid’s taxpayer-funded coverage of “abortion services” for state residents. According to WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR affiliate, the green and white billboards read, “Abortion is Healthcare. It’s Covered by Illinois Medicaid. We’re Here to Help,” and list the Chicago Abortion Fund’s website. The six signs statewide — including three on high-traffic interstates in the Chicago area as well as two in Peoria and one in Champaign (the location of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) — are scheduled to remain posted through September.
A majority of states align their own Medicaid programs with the federal Hyde Amendment guidelines, and do not cover abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother. However, in 2018, former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, a pro-abortion Republican, signed into law House Bill 40, which allowed taxpayer funding to directly subsidize abortion through the state’s Medicaid program. As expected, abortion numbers rose significantly following the passage of the new law.
As Eric Scheidler of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League noted in a Facebook post, abortions among Illinois residents in 2018 increased by over 8% from just the year before, despite a decreased population and declining national abortion numbers. 2019 statistics have not yet been released by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Yet this new billboard campaign makes clear that abortion advocates aren’t sitting on their haunches enjoying their “gains.”
The campaign is just the latest in a series of events leading Scheidler to call Illinois “the abortion dumping ground of the midwest.”
As WBEZ noted, “Women travel from all over the country to have abortions in Illinois. As neighboring states restrict abortion access, Illinois is seen as a haven that protects abortion access.” In the same year that abortions among Illinois residents increased by nearly 9%, 5,668 women traveled to Illinois from out-of-state for abortions. (Compare this to 2,970 abortions on out-of-state residents just four years prior. That’s a 52% increase.)
Late-term abortions (committed at 20 weeks gestation or later), which are opposed by a majority of Americans, also increased in the state by 80% between 2017 and 2018. While the abortion industry attempts to explain away late-term abortions as a myth propagated by pro-life “extremists” to gain sympathy for our cause, the reality is that at least 664 children died from late-term abortions in 2018 in Illinois alone.
In 2019, state legislators passed a law cementing Illinois’ “abortion rights haven” status. The law calls abortion “a fundamental right” and explicitly reads, “a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights.” According to a previous Live Action news report:
The new Illinois RHA does away with the state’s ban on partial-birth abortion, ends the need for licensing abortion facilities by the state, allows non-physicians to commit abortions, and allows for abortion at any time, for any reason, including for reasons of “health” which may include “physical, emotional, psychological, familial” or any other type of “health” the abortionist will accept. And abortionists have made clear that they believe the very state of being pregnant and not wanting to be is reason enough to commit an abortion.
While Democratic Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker called the state a “beacon of hope” for those who believe in “women’s fundamental rights” when he signed the controversial bill into law, the fact is that Illinois has become an abortion haven, and a taxpayer-funded one at that.
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