Illinois governor says he will veto bill supporting taxpayer funding of abortion

HB 40, an Illinois bill allowing taxpayer funds to be used for abortions, will be vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner, should it pass, according to a spokesperson for the governor’s office.

In addition to funding abortions with taxpayer dollars, HB 40 would also remove a so-called “trigger provision,” a state law declaring abortions illegal in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned. The bill is expected to be voted on later this month, possibly on April 25, the day legislators will return from a two-week break, and also the day of the Illinois Women’s March on Springfield.

The vote on HB 40 is expected to be a close one in the House, and if it succeeds there is expected to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate. However, regardless of whether the bill clears the legislature, it will likely not be signed into law.

“Governor Rauner does not support HB 40 and will veto the bill if it reaches his desk,” said spokesperson Allie Bovis.

Rauner, a pro-choice Republican, has donated thousands of dollars to Planned Parenthood, as has his wife, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The Rauner Family Foundation has also contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the American Civil Liberties Union. However, despite his pro-abortion views, it appears that Rauner may oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.

Another spokesperson for Rauner, Eleni Demertzis, explained that while Rauner is committed to upholding pro-choice values, he understands “the sharp divisions of opinion of taxpayer funding of abortion,” and thus opposes HB 40.

Regardless of Rauner’s problematic record on abortion issues, or his reasons for opposing HB 40, opponents of forced taxpayer funding of abortions spoke favorably of the governor’s decision to veto, should the bill pass. State Rep. David McSweeney, who called on Rauner to make his position on HB 40 known prior to the vote, said that Rauner’s intent to veto the bill if necessary is “very good news.”

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, sponsor of HB 40, argued in support of the measure by citing two former Illinois governors, both Republicans, who support taxpayer funding of abortion. Whether the abortions are for “employees of the state or poor women,” to not fund abortions is both “unconscionable” and “very discriminatory,” Feigenholtz argues for both former governors.

But State Rep. Peter Breen, who opposes the bill, says HB 40 “would require taxpayer funding for abortions of healthy babies,” said Breen, “and that’s something that the broad majority of Illinoisans are against.”

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