Oregon recently became the first state to require taxpayers to fund any and all abortions, at any stage of pregnancy, on citizens and non-citizens alike. With a wavering Gov. Rauner, Illinois is now looking to follow the example, all while facing a debt and budget crisis.
Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, who has donated to Planned Parenthood and signed pro-abortion legislation into law before, initially said he would veto HB 40. A spokesperson’s statement acknowledged that “Gov. Rauner is committed to protecting women’s reproductive rights under current Illinois law. However, recognizing the sharp divisions of opinion of taxpayer funding of abortion, he does not support HB40.”
As Politico reported Tuesday morning, however, Rauner is now undecided, with a spokesperson saying he “hasn’t made up his mind.” The bill, which will pay for all abortions covered by Medicaid and for state employees, for any reason and throughout all nine months of pregnancy, has already passed the House and Senate. It is on a “procedural hold” in the Senate.
READ: Oregon Governor signs bill offering free abortions to citizens and undocumented immigrants
Rauner also has past promises held over him. Personal PAC, whose motto is “Pro-Choice. No exceptions,” is one of the groups behind the bill. As Politico reported:
Personal PAC’s Terry Cosgrove told us last week that Rauner wouldn’t get the bill until he publicly stated he’ll sign it as is. Rauner is pro-choice, and in the general election, he and Diana Rauner vowed he did not have a social agenda. Rauner also made an election promise to Personal PAC that he would support legislation just like HB40.
Politico had previously reported on Rauner, who, although not pro-life, had promised he would not push a social agenda:
The best timing for politically-minded Democrats is sending it to the governor’s desk right now, forcing him to choose between angering pro-life Republicans or angering suburban women who supported Rauner because of a no-social-agenda promise.
One could make the case that signing legislation to force taxpayers to fund abortions is, in fact, the very definition of a social agenda.
Such reporting notes that “Rauner is strongly leaning toward signing it,” and that he has “in recent weeks has met with groups of women in different parts of the state, the sources said, including those who rely on Medicaid, to hear their personal stories about abortion and access to abortion.” Such meetings seem to discount women who are pro-life.
Money spent on elective abortions could very well be limitless, when Illinois is already facing financial troubles. “There is no cap to the number of abortions that could be covered by Medicaid, and essentially no cap to the amount of taxpayer dollars spent. The General Assembly is essentially handing over a blank check to the abortion industry,” Illinois Right to Life notes.
Should the bill become law, and result in lawsuits, the state will have to pay to defend it in court. This already happened with a state law forcing pregnancy centers to advertise abortion, which Rauner signed.
While abortion is at an overall decline, making abortions free makes the rates very likely to increase. Illinois Right to Life is, with original emphasis…
… projecting that this bill could increase Illinois abortions as many as 12,000 more per year, based on data from the last time Medicaid funded abortions. That’s on top of the already 39,856 abortions per year. The ACLU admitted that 18-35% of those on Medicaid state they will not have an abortion unless it is free.
While there is no definitive date on when Rauner will receive the bill, it is still pressing for Illinoisans to let the governor know that public opinion is against taxpayer funded abortions. These include abortions which are performed late in term, on preborn children who can feel pain. As Sarah Terzo has reminded readers, many of these abortions are actually performed on healthy mothers and children. Contact Rauner now to encourage him to veto HB 40.