Republican chair says abortion issue will not divide party
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider (R-Bartlett) says that even though he joins many fellow Republicans in dismay over Gov. Bruce Rauner's signing of abortion coverage expansion, he won't allow Democrats to use the issue to divide his party.
House Bill 40, which Rauner signed into law on Thursday, provides those on Medicaid or state insurance to receive free abortions until the last day of their pregnancy.
Schneider said he could see Democrats, led by House Speaker Mike Madigan, using the enactment as ammunition.
"While I am frustrated and saddened, I also know that Speaker Madigan and the Democrats are trying to use this issue to divide our party and elect a Madigan-backed candidate for governor," Schneider said in a press release. "As Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, I will not let that happen. Our state faces great challenges, and we are focused on the issues that unite us as Republicans and as Illinoisans. There is no daylight between Governor Rauner and the Illinois Republican Party and we will continue working hard to ensure his reelection and finally defeat Mike Madigan once and for all.”
Illinois previously covered abortion only in cases of incest, rape or complications that threaten the life of health of the mother.
Illinois Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, has estimated that the new law would cost the state more than $21 million and provide an additional 12,000 additional abortions per year. The group also claims that the legislation will allow for more fraud cases.
Several prominent Republicans have also criticized Rauner, claiming that he betrayed the trust of his voters and the GOP.
HB40's passage marks the first time a state will explicitly use taxpayer funds for abortions.