- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 28, 2017

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill Thursday overturning state laws that prohibited taxpayer dollars from financing abortions.

At a press conference announcing his decision, the Republican governor said “no woman should be forced to make a different decision than another woman would make purely based on her income.”

“I personally am pro-choice,” he said. “I always have been. And I’ve made no qualms about that when I was elected governor. And I have not and never will change my views.”

Mr. Rauner’s views have changed since April, when he said he would not sign House Bill 40 if passed by the state legislature. He said he ultimately decided to sign the bill after he was unable to find “common ground” during debate over the legislation.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life, said the governor violated “his promise to protect Illinois taxpayers from forced funding of abortion.”

“Unfortunately, Governor Rauner gave into the pressure of the abortion industry, which has moved from choice to coercion, forcing people to not only support their extreme abortion agenda, but also to pay for it,” Ms. Hawkins said in a statement.

HB 40 lifts a ban on the use of taxpayer dollars for abortions in the state’s health care and Medicaid programs. Government workers and low-income women who get their health insurance from the state will now receive coverage for abortions.

The legislation also removes triggering language from Illinois law that would have made abortion illegal in the state if the Supreme Court ever overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision declaring a federal constitutional right to an abortion.

Brittany Mostiller, executive director of the Chicago Abortion Fund, said Illinois took an “incredibly important step towards justice for women like me.”

“By signing HB 40, which passed with strong majorities in our Illinois House and Senate, Gov. Rauner affirms the right to legal abortion in our state, guarding against the awful prospect of a Supreme Court ruling that overturns Roe v. Wade and eliminates the legal right to abortion nationwide,” Ms. Mostiller said Thursday at the press conference.

She said “protecting the legal right to abortion isn’t enough, because a right in theory only is no right at all.”

“That’s why it’s so important to lift the ban on insurance coverage for abortion for low-income people in our state, and HB 40 does exactly that,” she said.

Ms. Hawkins said HB 40 “flies directly in the face of vast majorities of Americans who don’t support taxpayer funding for abortion,” regardless of if they identify as pro-choice or pro-life.

“This abhorrent bill has nothing to do with protecting women’s health and is about nothing more than providing a new income stream for the abortion lobby,” she said.

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