Facing intense pressure from abortion activists, the pro-abortion Republican governor of Illinois may sign a bill forcing state taxpayers to pay for abortions up to birth.
Gov. Bruce Rauner supports abortion, but he previously said he would veto the radical pro-abortion bill. Rauner said taxpayer funding for abortion is too “divisive,” a fact backed up by polling. Polls consistently show that a strong majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions, including those who identify as pro-choice.
But Rauner did not stick to his promise in a comment last week. Pro-abortion lawmakers are expected to send the bill to his desk soon.
“The bill has not been sent to my desk,” Rauner said last week. “I am meeting with advocates and legislators on both sides, both who support the bill and who are against the bill and we are assessing.”
Indeed, while the bill got final approval in the legislature in May, it has never been forwarded to Rauner’s desk. It is being held in the Senate on a procedural move. The reason given was that Rauner had threatened to veto the bill and proponents wanted to give him time to reconsider his position.
Illinois House Bill 40 would force taxpayers to fund abortions for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy, and keep abortion on demand legal in Illinois the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned. It passed the state Senate in May and the House in April.
The Illinois State Assembly synopsis of the bill says it would remove language from state law and policy “that the unborn child is a human being from the time of conception and is, therefore, a legal person for purposes of the unborn child’s right to life.”
With Rauner now wavering, pro-abortion state Sen. Don Harmon said he will send the bill to the governor’s desk, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday. Rauner will have 60 days to decide whether to keep his promise to veto the legislation.
Harmon told the newspaper he was “encouraged the governor has moved (on the legislation) from supporting, to threatening to veto, to now moving to an undecided position. I think he’s coming back in the right direction.”
But pro-life advocates said Rauner risks angering a lot of voters if he goes back on his promise.
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“This is make or break for the governor,” said Paul Caprio, director of the pro-life Family-PAC. “Ultimately, he will be evaluated on what he does. If he does not veto the legislation, in my opinion the governor’s chances of re-election are zero.”
In a statement, Illinois Right to Life urged pro-lifers to call Rauner and encourage him not to give into the radical abortion activists.
“This bill shows how unrestrained the abortion industry is in their push to expand abortion at all costs,” the pro-life group said. “That’s why we need you to call Governor Rauner’s office once again, thank him for agreeing to veto this terrible bill, and ask him to PLEASE keep his promise.”
“If Governor Bruce Rauner signs HB40, he will be publicly repudiated by pro-lifers throughout the entire state of Illinois,” said Rosemary Hackett, President of Illinois Right to Life.
“He promised to veto this horrendous legislation, which would force all Illinois taxpayers to pay for free abortions for those on Medicaid and state employees, which can be done through all nine months of pregnancy and for any reason – even when the unborn child can feel pain and survive outside the womb. Illinois Right to Life, alongside Illinois citizens who do not want their tax dollars going toward the, poisoning, dismemberment, and killing of unborn children in abortion, urge Governor Rauner to hold true to his promise and veto HB 40.”
Earlier this year, Emily Troscinski, executive director of Illinois Right To Life, estimated that an additional 12,000 unborn babies could die every year in Illinois if the bill becomes law. Those babies’ deaths would be paid for by Illinois taxpayers.
She said Illinois funded unrestricted abortions through Medicaid in the late 1970s, and taxpayers paid $1.8 million for about 12,738 abortions at the time – so “12,000 abortions per year isn’t an exaggeration.”
State Senate leaders previously said they will work to override Rauner’s veto if he chooses that route.
In October 2016, a Politico/Harvard University poll found that just 36 percent of likely voters supported taxpayer funding for abortions, while 58 percent opposed it. These findings are consistent with previous polls from various groups.
Interestingly, the poll also found that voters who make more than $75,000 were more supportive of forcing taxpayers to fund abortions (45 percent in favor), while those who make $25,000 or less were strongly against it (24 percent in favor).
In other words, the people most likely to qualify for a Medicaid-covered, taxpayer-funded abortion are the ones who oppose it the most.
ACTION: Urge Gov. Rauner to keep his promise to veto House Bill 40. Call Rauner at 217-782-0244. Or send him an electronic message here.