CatholicVote.org warns Rauner about supporting taxpayer-funded abortions
Members of the 600,000-strong CatholicVote.org are warning Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner against inking any legislation that would force taxpayers to directly foot the cost for abortions.
The Wisconsin-based national organization recently released a press release warning the governor that entering into any such agreement as part of an overall "Grand Bargain" budget deal will almost certainly have dire consequences regarding their support for Rauner during the 2018 election cycle.
Senate lawmakers recently spent several days in Springfield trying to broker a sweeping agreement that would put an end to the state’s 18-months-and-running budget impasse. Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Minority Leader Christine Radogno have stressed that anything could be on the table in reaching an agreement.
In their release, CatholicVote leaders also assured the governor that they will be closely monitoring all the happenings in Springfield and plan to hold him to the promise he made during his campaign run.
“We hope the governor holds true to his word of remaining neutral on this issue,” CatholicVote Communications Director Joshua Mercer told the Sangamon Sun. “Forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions cannot be considered neutral.”
According to group leaders, HB 40 would authorize the use of state monies for abortion services. After that, to become law of the land, all that would be required is Rauner’s signature.
“We want to let Catholics know what’s happening in the assembly,” Mercer said of their timed press release. “The bill could conceivably reach his desk as early as next week. Catholics need to get involved and let their voices be heard.”
As part of their effort to make sure the message gets out in mass, Mercer said the group will be emailing all of its members to keep them abreast of the situation and encourage them to reach out to the governor as well as their representatives.
Rauner recently angered conservatives by signing Democrat-sponsored bills that called for expanding birth control coverage and access to abortions.
In their release, organizers added that, if Rauner were ever to sign his name to any abortion legislation, “he cannot be trusted with another term as governor.”
CatholicVote members insist that sentiment is shared by many other pro-life groups around the state. Already the governor has been branded a “traitor” by one religious group in the wake of his support for the Democratic bills.
While CatholicVote is not officially associated with the Catholic Church, Mercer insists that formal church leaders are pushing Rauner not to cave in on the abortion issue and they, too, plan to rally Catholics in support against any proposal that does otherwise.
“From my understanding, the bishops plan to get involved,” he said. “They’ll be sending messages out to all Catholics. Education and activism are critical at this point.”
A spokesperson for the governor previously maintained that Rauner never pushes a social agenda and “remains committed to government, economic and education reforms that can turn around Illinois.”