Rauner goes back on word, signs landmark abortion expansion measure
Going back on an earlier vow, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation on Thursday that expands abortion funding through taxpayer dollars, making him America’s first governor to do so.
The controversial measure mandates Medicaid to cover abortions for Illinoisan women as a health benefit that allows them to have the procedure for any reason at any time. Currently, women with Medicaid may have an abortion covered only in cases of rape, incest, health and life of the mother.
“I believe that a woman with limited financial means should not be put in a position where she has to choose something different than a woman of high-ranking income would be able to choose," Rauner said.
Rauner said in April that he would veto HB40 if it came to him, but Prairie State Wire broke the news on Wednesday that he intended to sign it.
“I tried in the spring, and I tried for months as this bill was debated and ultimately passed to find common ground with both sides of the issues, and we were unable to do that," he said.
Many observers have openly wondered what signing the bill into law will do to Rauner's political career with the Republican Party. Some in the party have even said the move could bring about a primary challenger in Rauner's re-election bid.
Rauner emphasized on Thursday that he made it clear that he was pro-choice when elected and his position has not changed.
“I personally believe that a woman should have, must have, the right to decide what goes on in her own body -- that women should have the right to decide her health care,” Rauner said.
According to Right to Life, the expansion of abortion rights will add an estimated 12,000 abortions a year, carrying a price tag of more than $21 million.
The new law also removes “trigger language” that would have made abortions illegal in Illinois should the U.S Supreme Court overturn its 1973 landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal nationwide.
The House passed the bill in April and the Senate in May.