Published On: Sat, Sep 30th, 2017

Bruce Rauner angers GOP, pro-lifers and pleases Planned Parenthood, ACLU with abortion law

Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday signed into law a bill that will expand the public funding of abortion in Illinois, including to Medicaid recipients, shocking Republicans and pro-life groups.

Rauner said he talked to low-income women across the state who didn’t have access to abortion because they couldn’t afford it.

photo Pawel Loj

“No woman should be forced to make a different decision than another woman would based purely on her income,” Rauner said. “I am personally pro-choice, I always have been. I made no qualms about that when I was elected governor. I have not and never will change my views. I personally believe that a woman must have the right to decide what goes on in her own body.”

The law will expand public funding of abortion to include Medicaid recipients and to those who are covered under state health care plans.

The National Institute for Reproductive Health said the move makes Illinois the first state in decades to lift its restriction on Medicaid coverage of abortion.

“Because of this action, women in Illinois will no longer be barred from using Medicaid coverage for abortion,” said NIRH President Andrea Miller. “(NIRH) is proud to have supported this effort in Illinois and to be part of the growing movement to end all bans on insurance coverage of abortion.”

Planned Parenthood, Personal PAC and the ACLU were among the groups applauding Rauner’s decision on Thursday.

“Thank you Governor Rauner for signing HB 40. With access to abortion under attack at the federal level, it is essential to make sure that women will have access to safe and legal abortion in Illinois,” Planned Parenthood of Illinois President and chief executive officer Jennifer Welch.

“HB 40 repeals the ‘trigger’ language in the Illinois Abortion law of 1975, which stated that Illinois would revert back to criminalizing abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the decision in Roe v. Wade,” Welch continued. “The authority to outlaw or severely restrict abortion would return to the states, if the court were to overturn Roe. HB 40 ensures that no matter what happens, federally, abortion will remain legal in Illinois.

“In addition, HB 40 strikes bans on abortion coverage by the Illinois’ Medicaid and State Employee Health Insurance programs. Coverage bans were enacted in the 1970s by politicians who wanted to keep as many women as possible from accessing abortion without running afoul of the Roe decision.”

Right to Life issued a statement, shocked by the move and estimated the death of 12,000 or more babies annually in Illinois.

Politico noted the influence of Rauner’s spouse, “his wife, Diana — a driving force behind his decision — believe politically the move is necessary in a blue state. Since its passage, the issue has placed tremendous pressure on the governor because he is a Republican in a state that voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton.”


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- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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