A promise from the governor of Illinois to veto an abortion funding bill drew the gratitude of Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, who called it a “principled stand.”
“Abortion is a controversial issue in this country, but using public money to provide abortions should not be,” the cardinal said April 19. “The federal government prohibits the practice, and polls show a substantial segment of the American public reject it.”
Governor Bruce Rauner had pledged to veto Illinois House Bill 40. The legislation would fund elective abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason through the Medicaid and employee health insurance programs. It would also make a symbolic commitment to maintain legal abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the decisions mandating legal abortion nationwide.
Only 15 states currently pay for elective abortions for Medicaid participants, and 11 of those states do so through a court order, not legislative action.
A spokesperson said last week the governor is committed to protecting current abortion law but recognizes the “sharp divisions of opinion” on taxpayer funding of abortion, the Associated Press reports.
“I thank him for this principled stand,” Cupich said of the governor. “I pray that this divisive issue will be put behind us and our government officials will now concentrate on the many difficult challenges facing Illinois.”
He stressed the importance of unity in seeking a budget “that serves all our people” and pledged help for this effort.
Rauner, a Republican, actively campaigned as a supporter of legal abortion. He and his wife are listed as $50,000 sponsors of a Planned Parenthood of Illinois fundraiser next week marking the abortion organization’s 100th anniversary, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Crux staff contributed to this report.