Pro-life group voices outrage over House bill
In its language, House Bill 40 appears meant to maintain the Illinois status quo when it comes to abortion; namely, it would not allow a reversal of Roe v Wade to make abortions illegal in the state.
But opponents counter that the real agenda is not so clearly spelled out. They argue that the legislation is not meant to plan for a future contingency so much as to mandate that the state pay for abortions now. They say HB 40 provides for free abortions for women participating in Illinois' Medicaid program and will require the State Employee Health Insurance program to cover abortion procedures as well.
The House Human Services Committee recently approved bill HB 40, which eliminates the "trigger language" section of the Illinois abortion law that stipulates that if the landmark abortion decision is overturned, Illinois would not revert to prior law that criminalized abortion.
Illinois Right To Live organizers have joined several other groups to voice their outrage.
“This bill would force citizens to pay for abortions performed on children when their heart is beating and they can feel the dismemberment,” spokesperson Regina D’Amico told the Sangamon Sun. “It’s extreme and out of touch with the state.”
D’Amico said the bill would overturn a state policy of 36 years by demanding that taxpayers subsidize abortions and disregards recent national opinion polls that found most Americans are opposed to state-funded abortions. A recent Marist poll found that 61 percent of Americans oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions within the United States, and 83 percent oppose government funding for abortions outside of the country.
The proposed legislation is in part prompted by factors at the federal level, including the Trump Administration’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch, a conservative federal appellate, to the Supreme Court.
Brigid Leahy, director of Public Policy at Planned Parenthood, told the The State Journal-Register that the organization felt it had to act now by “making sure that Illinois remains a safe haven for access for women, and we believe that all women should have access to safe and legal abortion."
Right to Life officials also expressed concern over the costs associated with the bill at a time when the state is deeply in debt and mired in a nearly two-year budget impasse.
“The bill would surely increase state debt at time when the state can least afford it,” D’Amico said. “Taxpayers need relief, not more burden.”
The bill must be approved by the full House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate before going to Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk. Rauner has thus far has remained mum on the recent developments.
“The governor has made no statement,” D’Amico said. “In the past, he has always said he has no social agenda. We’re certainly hoping that he will choose to uphold that promise at this critical moment.”