Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is opposing legislation that would allow the state to cover abortions for its employees and Medicaid recipients. […]
The legislation is sponsored by Democratic Rep. Sara Feigenholtz. She says the measure would protect women’s access to abortions in Illinois if federal law legalizing the procedure is overturned. It also would remove prohibitions on state employee health insurance and Medicaid funds from covering the procedure.
Rauner has signed previous legislation expanding access to birth control and requiring physicians who refuse to perform abortions to inform patients where they can go instead.
* From Rauner’s spokesperson Eleni Demertzis…
“Governor 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.”
The legislation is here. Medicaid money is already used at Cook County Hospital for abortions, and most non-state university and local government health insurance policies also cover it in Chicago.
But the governor was getting tremendous heat from his right flank on this bill and he needs to keep them together through this impasse.
…Adding… Illinois Review…
[State Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington)] called on the governor to make his position clear earlier this week, saying whether Illinois becomes one of the few states where taxpayers pay for abortions for any reason could rest in the hands of Governor Bruce Rauner - even before the bill made it to his desk.
“If Governor Rauner makes his intentions known before HB 40 is called, there’s a very good chance that the bill will not pass the House,” McSweeney told Illinois Review Wednesday.
“I’ve talked to several Democrats that tell me they are torn on the issue, and if the governor said he was going to veto the measure, I’m fairly certain it wouldn’t get the 60 they need to pass it.” […]
McSweeney said he was expecting pro-abortion lawmakers to call the vote on the floor April 25th, when a “Women’s March” was being planned on the State Capitol.
“The vote was very close at last count,” McSweeney said. “This is very good news that the governor has announced he will veto HB 40 if it gets to his desk. I’m very happy he’s made his position clear.”
*** UPDATE 1 *** Press release…
Today, JB Pritzker released the following statement on Governor Rauner’s plan to veto HB40, which would cover abortions for women on state employee health insurance and Medicaid, and would remove a “trigger provision” that would make abortions illegal if Roe v. Wade was overturned.
“Bruce Rauner should be ashamed of himself. No pro-choice governor would take this position and restrict access to these critical services for Illinois women,” said JB Pritzker. “Rauner is proving yet again that he not only shares an extreme agenda with Donald Trump, but also lied to voters when he claimed that he cares about a woman’s right to choose. This decision is deeply hurtful to me and to women across this state. I have been fighting to protect women’s healthcare and reproductive rights my whole life and will do the same as Illinois’ next governor.”
*** UPDATE 2 *** Press release from Rep. Tom Morrison…
“I am pleased Governor Rauner has chosen to veto HB 40 should it come to his desk. The Democrat lawmakers behind this initiative want to force Illinois taxpayers to pay for elective abortions through all 9 months of pregnancy. Taxpayers would be on the hook for abortions for any reason - even sex selection abortions would’ve been covered. This may come as a surprise a lot of people, even those who hold ‘pro-choice’ views. The Governor is doing the right thing by promising to veto HB 40.”
Paul Caprio, Director of Family-Pac, today commended the decision of Governor Rauner to oppose HB 40…legislation to provide taxpayer funding for abortion.
Said Caprio: “It’s clear that the majority of Illinois voters oppose the use of their hard earned tax dollars to fund abortions at a time when Illinois is facing a fiscal crisis, regardless of their personal views.”
“I wish to thank also the many pro-family legislators who have met with the Governor regarding this issue as well as the many thousands of Illinois citizens who have contacted their legislators urging them to oppose HB 40.”
*** UPDATE 3 *** Chris Kennedy campaign…
Politicians like Bruce Rauner have no business deciding when and if women can get access to health services - period. He is putting politics before women’s health and that’s just shameful. All women deserve nothing less than full access to doctors and health services of their choice. As Governor, I would sign any legislation that would affirm a woman’s right to choose is protected in Illinois.
*** UPDATE 4 *** From Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a co-sponsor of the bill…
Representative Morrison uses tired misinformation to launch a baseless attack on one of our state legislators. The reality is that State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (and her colleagues who are supportive of HB 40) are working to build a future where insurance coverage for necessary healthcare isn’t denied just because someone doesn’t make enough money.
However we may personally feel about abortion, no one should have that personal decision taken away by politicians who deny insurance coverage—which is exactly what the Hyde Amendment does to low-income families. Representative Feigenholtz’ bill would correct that injustice.
Voters agree. A poll from Hart Research Associates shows 86 percent of voters agree that “however we feel about abortion, politicians should not be allowed to deny a woman’s health coverage because she is poor.” And there is broad consensus across age groups (90 percent of voters ages 18 to 34 and 84 percent of voters 65 and over) and parties: 85 percent of independents, 79 percent of Republicans, and 94 percent of Democrats all agree.
This is about more than politics. The stakes for a woman whose decision is denied by Hyde are high: a woman who wants to get an abortion but is denied is more likely to fall into poverty than one who can get an abortion.
Representative Feigenholtz’s legislation simply affirms something that women in Illinois already know: that the legal right to an abortion is legal fiction if a woman can’t access and afford the care.
Nothing about HB 40 changes the law as it relates to when a person can have an abortion in Illinois.
Representative Feigenholtz wants to ensure that whatever happens in the future—the right to abortion is real for those in our state who already face too many barriers to care. I call that admirable and am grateful for this champion of health and women’s ability to make our own decisions.
*** UPDATE 5 *** Press release…
Sen. Daniel Biss made the following statement in response to Gov. Rauner’s announcement that he would veto House Bill 40, a bill that would protect the women of Illinois from dangerous attacks on their reproductive freedom coming from President Trump and his right-wing Supreme Court appointments:
“Since taking office out-of-touch billionaires like Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner have done everything in their power to wage a war on women. Bruce Rauner lied on the campaign trail when he said he didn’t have a social agenda — on the contrary, he’s now supporting President Trump’s dangerous efforts to take Illinois women back to the dangerous days before Roe v. Wade was the law of the land.”