By Dave Andrusko
Illinois’s pro-abortion Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the highly controversial HB 40 into law on Thursday, surprising only in that as recently as April Rauner said he wouldn’t support it because of “sharp divisions of opinion of taxpayer funding of abortion.”
The impact is potentially immense. The Chicago Tribune summarized the bill’s reach:
The new law expands taxpayer-subsidized abortions for women covered by Medicaid and state employee insurance. The state already covers abortions in cases of rape, incest and when there is a threat to the health and life of the mother. The law expands the Medicaid coverage beyond those limited cases.
An angry House Republican Floor Leader, Rep. Peter Breen, called the governor’s action a “betrayal.” In a statement, Rep. Breen said
I’ve heard Rauner promise the people of Illinois that he had “no social agenda” and as such firmly commit to legislators, the public, and even to Chicago’s Cardinal, Blaise Cupich, that he would veto taxpayer funding of abortions. But he has now broken that commitment, signing a bill that puts taxpayers on the hook to pay for an expected 20,000-30,000 aborted lives per year. And without any source of funding, in the throes of an unbalanced budget. Now, I’ve come to expect politicians to shade the truth, but what’s clear today is that Rauner’s promises were just flat out lies.
(Cardinal Blase Cupich tweeted that “Gov. Rauner has signed into law a very disturbing bill he once promised to veto.”)
Rauner’s statement suggested that in multiplying the number of abortions he was just being true to his convictions:
“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 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.”
State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, a Democrat from Olympia Fields and co-sponsor of the bill, offered her congratulations: “Today, Governor Rauner agreed with me and thousands of women and men who stood up and used the most powerful tool we have: our voices,” she said. “”Thanks to those voices, House Bill 40 will become law in Illinois. We did it!”
The Chicago Tribune reported that Cardinal Cupich said Rauner personally informed him of his decision on Thursday.
“I reminded him of the promise and also my statement earlier thanking him for that,” Cupich told the Tribune. “He did break his word. He broke his word to the people, especially those who have continued to speak on behalf of the vulnerable child in the womb.”
National Right to life President Carol Tobias said of Rauner’s signature on HB 40, “It was a great Illinois lawmaker named Henry Hyde who stood up 40 years ago and said ‘government shouldn’t use taxpayer dollars to fund abortion.’ That principle, as applied at the federal level, and in many states, has saved millions of lives. Bruce Rauner campaigned on a ‘turn-around agenda,’ and he’s done just that: turn around one of Illinois’ few pro-life policies, and in doing so, has trampled all over the legacy of Henry Hyde.”