Rauner vows to veto abortion bill
If the Illinois General Assembly passes a bill intended to keep abortion legal in the state even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, it’s likely to run into a gubernatorial roadblock.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has vowed to veto House Bill 40 because it would mean tax dollars could be used to pay for an abortion, according to the Chicago Sun.
While many proponents say the bill would be a win for women’s reproductive rights – something Rauner agrees with -- opponents say it includes provisions that would immediately introduce state-funded abortion through employee health insurance and Medicaid, even if no changes are made on the federal level.
The bill would remove language from an existing law that declares a fetus to be a human being from the time of conception, therefore an unborn child would no longer be considered a legal person with a right to life. It also would amend the State Employees Group Insurance Act of 1971 to remove a provision prohibiting the state from contributing to the cost of insurance covering abortion for state employees.
House Bill 40 would also change the Illinois Public Aid Code to allow abortions, induced miscarriages or premature births to be added to the list of services provided under Illinois' medical assistance program. It removes language that prohibits a physician found guilty of performing an illegal abortion from treating individuals eligible for medical assistance benefits, and it would alter the Problem Pregnancy Health Services and Care Act to no longer prohibit the Department of Human Services from making grants to non-profit organizations that offer referrals to abortion services or perform abortions themselves.
Finally, the bill would amend the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 to affirm that the goal of the General Assembly is to regulate abortion under standards set forth in Roe V. Wade.
The bill's timing is largely driven by events on the federal level. Brigid Leahy, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said the organization is pushing legislation of this kind because it is concerned about the future of women's reproductive rights, according to the State-Journal Register.
In particular, Leahy said she is concerned about the future legality of abortion with Neil Gorsuch confirmed as a Supreme Court justice.
Not everyone in Illinois politics is pleased with the bill. Sen. Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) told the Sangamon Sun that he is not optimistic about the future of a bill that allows for tax payer-funded abortions.
"HB40 expands taxpayer funding of abortion to all nine months of pregnancy for any reason," he said. "A substantively similar bill did not pass last session because public funding of abortion as birth control is offensive to so many taxpayers. But as legislators learn what this bill really does, we've seen support for it weaken. I fully expect that trend to continue.”