A controversial abortion bill signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner is now being challenged in state court by some Republican legislators, pro-life groups and the Springfield Catholic Diocese.
HB-40 expands coverage for abortions for women on Medicaid and those covered by the state’s health insurance plan. It also overturns the state’s ‘trigger law’, which would have made abortions automatically illegal statewide were the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision legalizing abortions nationwide.
The groups suing say that the law violates mandates that the state adopt a balanced budget because while allowing for more taxpayer funding for abortions, it provides no new tax money to pay for them, something they allege violates the balanced budget requirement in the Illinois Constitution. They also say that because the bill was passed by the legislature after May 31st, it cannot become law until June 1, 2018, not January 1, 2018 as currently written.
Thomas More Society Special Counsel and IL Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard), who drafted the lawsuit, said in a statement, “Under HB 40, Illinoisans will be forced to pay for 20,000 to 30,000 abortions per year with their tax dollars. Even apart from the sincere moral objections that many folks have to paying for abortions, there is no money in this year’s Illinois state budget to pay for them.”
Breen adds that there is no cap on the number of abortions that could be covered under Medicaid and no cap on the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on the procedures. He estimates state government spending on abortions could range anywhere from $15 million to $30 million.
A hearing on the lawsuit will be held December 7th in Sangamon County District Court. You can read the full complaint here.
Gov. Rauner signed the law despite heavy pressure from pro-life Republicans, saying that he never ran for governor on an anti-abortion platform.
Democrats, including Rep. Litesa Wallace (D-Rockford), who is running for Lt. Governor, praised the signing of the legislation at the time, saying it provided needed help for low-income women. “This is an overdue protection for Illinois women,” she said in a statement along with gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss at the time of its passage. “We were proud advocates in the legislature, and we are relieved that a woman’s right to choose will not be determined by her economic background.”