A business practice that is shutting down in other states is picking up in Illinois thanks to Gov. Bruce Rauner.
In 2017, 49 abortion clinics closed in the United States, LifeNews.com reports. In Illinois, Planned Parenthood recently opened a clinic in Flossmoor and reportedly has five more clinics planned across the state. The abortion provider will have 21 centers when it completes its expansion over the next five years.
Anti-abortion and pro-family groups point to Rauner’s signing of HB 40, which uses taxpayer funding for abortions through Medicaid and state employee insurance, as the reason for the upturn in business.
Emily Troscinski, executive director of Illinois Right to Life
“There is no cap to the number of abortions that could be covered by Medicaid, and essentially no cap to the amount of taxpayer dollars spent,” said Emily Troscinski, executive director of Illinois Right to Life. “It’s essentially like handing over a blank check to the abortion industry.”
The abortion market extends to out-of-state customers, as Flossmoor is just minutes from the Indiana border, and immigrants in the Midwest illegally, the groups say.
Overall, Illinois Right to Life, citing data from when Medicaid last funded abortions in the late 1970s, predicts the new law will increase the number of abortions in Illinois by at least 12,000, but the number could go much higher, according to Troscinski.
“Since the (American Civil Liberties Union) says 18-35 percent of women on Medicaid stated they would only get an abortion if it's free, I think it's safe to assume that number will be significantly higher,” Troscinski said. “Add to that the number of abortions already done on women who are on Medicaid since all those abortions will now be paid for by the state.”
Before HB 40 was signed into law, Medicaid covered the cost of abortions in case of rape or incest or when the mother's health or life was at risk. The life or health of the mother exception effectively permits abortions at any stage during the pregnancy. Now, Troscinski says, the taxpayers are covering abortions even when the only reason is “convenience.”
The abortion business is a lucrative one, especially when Medicaid pays.
The latest available numbers show that in 2014, Medicaid covered 145 abortions in Illinois. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services Legislative Affairs estimated the cost of these abortions at $243,371, or $1,678 each, according to Illinois Right to Life. The National Abortion Federation estimates the average cost at $640.
Illinois Right to Life cites a 2016 congressional investigation in which 51 audits of Planned Parenthood affiliates uncovered $8.5 million in overbilling.
“In Illinois alone, Planned Parenthood was forced to pay back $387,000 for improper or fraudulent billing,
Troscinski said. “And now we’re going to give them even more access to Medicaid funds.”