CHICAGO (Sept. 28, 2017) – It’s been described as a political booby trap sitting in wait. HB-40, a bill that would provide that the state could use taxpayer-funds to pay for an abortion for poor women on Medicaid, remove some current restrictions on doctors, and would allow for the state’s employees to be able to pay for an abortion via their state-funded health insurance.
Either way the Governor decided to go – sign it, or veto it, there would certainly be a harsh political reaction. And that proved to be true. On Thursday, Gov Rauner announced he would SIGN the bill, and the political booby trap exploded immediately from members of the Governor’s own party.
Rep Peter Breen (R) in a statement said the Governor has shown himself incapable of governing, and in his signing HB-40, has shown himself to be a liar. “I can no longer support him,” said Breen
Rep Allen Skillicorn (R), tweeted, “Rauner just lost his base and will be a one term governor.”
Rep Jeanne Ives (R), posted her statement on Facebook, “The Governor’s decision to break his promise and sign taxpayer funded abortion on-demand is a profound and unprecedented betrayal beyond words. This is a tragic day for everyone who values the sanctity of life. The Governor’s action today makes Illinois the first state in the country to mandate taxpayer funding of abortion under Medicaid at any time, for any reason as a result of signing legislation into law. This is a total failure of leadership.”
The irony of the Gov’s decision to sign the bill, is the applause for his action, is coming heavily from Democrats. He’s being applauded by Sen Toi Hutchinson (D), Sen Dan Biss, who’s seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor, endorsed Gov Rauner signing the bill, but then said the Governor has shown he’s an undecided flip-flopper, who’se judgement can’t be trusted. Biss said Rauner signed the bill for political, not moral reasons.
Rauner was also applauded by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Sen Don Harmon (D), the ACLU of Illinois, and many others whose support he would seldom have on a position.
Governor Bruce Rauner made the following statement concerning his decision to sign House Bill 40:
“I understand abortion is a very emotional issue with passionate opinions on both sides. I sincerely respect those who believe abortion is morally wrong. They are good people motivated by principle.
“But, as I have always said, I believe a woman should have the right to make that choice herself and I do not believe that choice should be determined by income. I do not think it’s fair to deny poor women the choice that wealthy women have.
“That is why I am signing HB40.
This issue’s major legacy may be in the impact it could have on Republican politics in the state in 2018. With the Governor likely to face a hard re-election campaign, and HB-40, with its protection for abortion services, threatens to undermine the Governor’s support from the social conservatives in the party — a major block.
After the Governor’s announcement, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider released the following statement, “I am disappointed in the Governor’s decision to sign HB-40 as the Illinois Republican Party opposes taxpayer-funded abortions.” He added, “While I am frustrated and saddened, I also know that Speaker Madigan and the Democrats are trying to use this issue to divide our party and elect a Madigan-backed candidate for governor. As Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, I will not let that happen…we will continue working hard to ensure his reelection and finally defeat Mike Madigan once and for all.”
A statement released by the Illinois Catholic Conference, which represents millions of voters in six Catholic dioceses, from Chicago to Springfield, said, “We are deeply disturbed that Governor Rauner has broken his word and firm public promise to veto HB 40. Governor Rauner, together with the legislators who voted for this misguided legislation, will now force Illinois taxpayers to pay for the taking of human life, in this case that of a defenseless child in the womb.
The statement went on to say, “We remain dedicated to advocating for the dignity and sanctity of human life from conception to natural death and will work to convince the public and our elected officials about the grave moral error this legislation represents.”
While this is a new challenge to his re-election, in his statement, Gov Rauner said, “This is not a new position – I campaigned on this principle in 2014 and it is a principle I have tried to live up to throughout my life.
“I have spent the past couple of months talking to people on both sides of this issue. I have also spent a lot of time meeting with women across Illinois and listening to their personal stories, particularly low-income women who do not have the same luxuries that many of us have. Their stories and their struggles are real and they have touched me in a very personal way. They deserve to have a choice as much as anyone else.
“I know there will be many people who disagree and I respect their opinions. I respect their passion. It is my hope that good people can disagree respectfully and can come together on other important issues that affect our state.”
The bill’s language contains the following:
Removes a provision excluding abortions or induced miscarriages or premature births from the list of services provided under the State’s medical assistance program.
Removes language providing for the adoption of rules to prohibit a physician from providing medical assistance to anyone eligible for medical assistance benefits if the physician has been found guilty of willfully and wantonly performing an abortion procedure upon a woman who was not pregnant at the time of the procedure.
Removes language prohibiting the Department of Human Services from making grants to nonprofit agencies and organizations that use such grants to refer or counsel for, or perform, abortion.
The late Illinois Congressman, Henry Hyde, passed the Hyde Amendment in 1976, which prohibits Federal funding of abortion. It is not covered, for example, by Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor.
But a potential future ruling by the US Supreme Court, could apply a prohibition on abortions, or return the nation to the position it was in, prior to the Roe v Wade decision in January, 1973 — where the legal status of abortions were determined state-by-state, by the legislature.
In that regard, HB-40, is viewed by some as an insurance policy to keep abortions in Illinois legal, and to provide state funding to nonprofit organizations providing abortion services or counseling.