* Some background is here. From Illinois Review…
The Illinois General Assembly is once again focused on putting together a state budget - one that should be considered before the end of May. If voted on after the last hour of May 2018, the vote requirements will change for passage. For the first time, Illinois will consider whether the state’s taxpayers should be forced to fund abortions for girls and women on Medicaid or on the state’s payroll.
State Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) appealed to his House colleagues Tuesday morning to “take off the table” the taxpayer funding of abortion by eliminating the line item from consideration with the rest of the state’s budget.
Um, no. Medicaid and state employee group health insurance aren’t appropriated like that. No disrespect intended because I’m just using this example for illustrative purposes, but you won’t find a line item for costs due to treating broken bones, either. There are some specific Medicaid approps for grants, but this wouldn’t fall under that topic.
I suppose you could insert a line and give it a $0 value, but state law now requires abortions to be funded, so, if we learned anything during the impasse, we know the judiciary will undoubtedly step in and force the state to follow the law it just passed. The law says fund abortions for Medicaid recipients and state employees, so the state has no choice but to fund them unless and until that statute is repealed.
* From Rep. Breen’s comments…
If there is a majority of members who wish to fund these abortions, then go ahead and take a vote on it.
We who are pro-life are not going to be complicit in your plan to terminate 30,000 innocent little lives next year. You go to the people of this state, and you explain how you raised taxes, to make sure there was money to pay for your 30,000 elective abortions every year. But, if there is no such majority here for taxpayer funded abortion, then let’s get the abortion funding off the table and out of the budget right now.
The General Assembly did take a vote on this topic last year when it passed HB40, which mandated this funding. So, a majority already exists. And it’s now the law of the land. Like it or hate it, the state has to fund it.
* Unless they separate those two approps out of the main budget bill and put them on a stand-alone bill, the only option Rep. Breen really has is to vote against the budget and all budgets moving forward unless something happens to HB40. He could also work to gin up opposition to the budget, but he’s a member of House GOP leadership - and the last floor leader who worked hard against Leader Durkin on a budget is retiring in January.
And, by the way, there’s sharp disagreement over HB40’s actual cost. It’s been on the books since January 1st, so I suppose we could probably get an estimate soon.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Media advisory…
Bipartisan Lawmakers to Voice Objections to State Funding of Elective Abortions in the FY 2019 Budget
Springfield, IL – On Tuesday, May 29 at 2:30 PM, a bipartisan coalition of House members will formally voice their objections to any FY 2019 budget that includes state funding of elective abortions. The media is invited and encouraged to attend.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Text from Rep. Breen…
Hey Rich, respectfully contend that we can split out parts of Medicaid in an appropriations bill. The practice of combining many billions into one large line item allocated generally for a wide variety of services under the Public Aid Act, CHIP Act, Covering All Kids, etc., is certainly not required by our state constitution. Instead, there is broad authority to fund or not fund programs, within appropriations bills. (e.g., Wirtz v. Quinn & Warrior v. Thompson). If anything, it would make more sense to split out programs like elective abortions, which are entirely unreimbursed by the federal government, instead of combining them with core reimbursable services. As for the courts, there’s no constitutional or statutory basis for a court to require us to fund elective abortions—especially when federal statute bars that funding.
Finally, even if there’s no appetite for a separate vote on an elective abortion appropriation (which tells you something about the level of support for such funding in the GA), then why not allow a separate vote on the Medicaid approp? In FY 2015, there were something like 20 appropriations bills, so splitting out appropriations is certainly well within recent precedent. Best regards, Peter
The idea of splitting out the approp into a stand-alone looks like where this demand is heading.