Governor Rauner Reneges on Promise to Veto Abortion Funding
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
October 5, 2017

SPRINGFIELD—Abortions have now been added to the long list of taxpayer funded items here in Illinois, thanks to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

With a low-key signing of House Bill 40, Gov. Rauner publicly reneged on a promise he made publicly and to Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago in April of this year, to veto HB 40 which would expand taxpayer-subsidized abortions for women covered by Medicaid and state employee insurance as he signed the bill into law.

The State of Illinois already covers abortions in cases of rape, incest and when there is a threat to the health and life of the mother. The new law expands the Medicaid coverage beyond those limited cases.

Illinois Right to Life, which opposed the bill, projected that the measure could mean 12,000 additional abortions per year.  In addition, the law would prevent a trigger in current Illinois law that abortion rights supporters say would make the procedure illegal in the state if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

In April Gov. Rauner’s spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis said  “Gov. Rauner is committed to protecting women’s reproductive rights under current Illinois law. However, recognizing the sharp divisions of opinion of taxpayer funding of abortion, he does not support HB40.”

Pro-life advocates across the state along with the Catholic Conference of Illinois issued calls to action for the last several months to let the Gov. know they supported the veto and to remind him that HB40 violates a longstanding principle that taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for a procedure they oppose or find morally offensive.

After the Gov. signed the bill, the Catholic Conference of Illinois issued a statement representing all six Illinois bishops saying, “We are deeply disturbed that Gov. Rauner has broken his word and firm public promise to veto HB40. Gov. Rauner, together with 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. 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.”

Bishop David Malloy, on Sept. 29, sent the CCI statement to his brother priests along with a letter asking them to continue “your tireless work to change the minds and hearts in our society that would for any reason fail to respect the dignity and sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.”

On its Facebook page, the Diocese of Rockford called Sept. 28 “a sad day for all people of Illinois.

Rep. Peter Breen, the House Republican floor leader from Lombard and a prominent anti-abortion rights attorney, was quoted in multiple news sources including the Chicago Tribune and Lifesite News saying, “He (Rauner) is now lying to us. And so at that point, I can’t support someone like that.”

Rep. Breen also charged that Rauner had broken his promise to Cardinal Cupich, and that “even the most corrupt Chicago machine politicians think twice before lying to a priest.”