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Illinois House Advances Abortion Bill HB40

By aaroncynic in News on Apr 25, 2017 10:19PM

IllinoisStateCapitol.jpg Lawmakers in the Illinois House advanced a bill Tuesday that proponents say would safeguard abortion rights for women, along with expanding options for low-income women.

Despite a promise from Gov. Bruce Rauner to veto—something his critics called him out for last week—the House voted 62 to 55 to advance HB40, which scraps an Illinois’ “trigger law” that would theoretically make abortion illegal should Roe V. Wade be overturned. Additionally, the bill expands abortion coverage for women on Medicaid and for women who are state employees using state health insurance. Currently, the state pays for abortions for cases of rape, incest, to protect the health or save the life of the mother.

“The Illinois legislature can walk into the Capitol today and say ‘no matter what kind of insurance a woman has, she deserves a right to have abortion care in her insurance plan,” said State Representative Sara Feigenholtz at a rally outside the Capitol building before the vote. Hundreds descended on the capitol during the morning and afternoon for a Women’s March which ended up coinciding with the bill going to the floor.

"Today is a victory for every woman in our state because it protects every woman's right to choose," said Feigenholtz, the bill’s sponsor, in a statement given to NBC5. " Today, we stated unequivocally that access to safe legal abortion will remain protected in Illinois."

Republicans however, were not pleased with the bill moving forward.

Peter Breen—who is neither a woman nor presently eligible for Medicaid coverage—seemed to suggest that to assist low-income people with one medical procedure, the state would have to sacrifice funding other medical procedures. “Where should that money come from,” Breen asked according to the Sun-Times, even though the state budget doesn’t work that way. “Should it come from cancer screenings … will it come from necessary surgeries?”

Breen then parroted familiar conservative talking points, using a term normally reserved for Twitter threads about false flag attacks.

“It is in the word of today, fake news. It’s a smokescreen,” said Breen, despite this being a legislative hearing and not a conservative messageboard. “The entire purpose of this bill is to bring more money, millions of dollars from the Illinois State treasury to the abortion industry.”

Apparently forgetting that the governor has played a huge role in creating the state budget impasse, the Illinois GOP tried to shoehorn the governor's archnemisis Michael Madigan into a statement. "Instead of working to solve our state's catastrophic challenges, Madigan Democrats just passed a radical bill for taxpayer funded abortions, at a cost of $60 million, while we don't have a budget,” said Party National Committeewoman Demetra Demonte in a statement emailed to Chicagoist. “Springfield yet again shows it's tone-deaf to the concerns of Illinoisans."

The governor has said he would veto the bill due to concerns over expanding access to Medicaid recipients. "Because expanding taxpayer funding of abortion is an extremely divisive issue, Gov. Rauner says he will veto House Bill 40," said Felicia Norwood, director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, in a video released by the governor’s office. "The administration does not support expanding taxpayer funding for elective procedures."