SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – A new Illinois law requiring public funding of elective abortions is opposed by pro-life groups and taxpayers who have sued the state, calling the measure illegal.
“The people of Illinois totally reject taxpayer-funded abortions,” said Peter Breen, Special Counsel for the Thomas More Society, a non-profit legal group in Chicago, in a statement released Thursday.
“Even apart from the sincere moral objections that many folks have to paying for abortions, there is no money in this year’s Illinois state budget to pay for them,” Breen continued.
House Bill 40 was signed into law by Illinois governor Bruce Rauner in late September. Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago criticized the governor, saying that he was disappointed Rauner had broken promises to veto the bill, according to the Chicago Tribune.
If it takes effect, the new law will allow taxpayer dollars to fund free abortions for individuals with Medicaid coverage, and for state employees with health insurance, throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
There would be no limit on the number of abortions covered by Medicaid and no limit on the amount of money spent on abortions. According to the Thomas More Society, this could mean that state would pay between $15-$30 million for abortions, funding as many as 30,000 abortions annually.
The taxpayer lawsuit, which was filed in the Sangamon County Circuit Court and drafted by Breen, charges that the law is illegal, because there are not adequate funds to pay for elective abortions while still fulfilling the balanced budget requirements of the Illinois Constitution.
Among the groups supporting the complaint are the Diocese of Springfield, legislators, and pro-life groups, including the Pro-Life Action League, the Illinois Right to Life Action, Illinois Federation for Right to Life, and a handful of local pro-life organizations.
“Regardless of your feelings about abortion, it is incredibly fiscally irresponsible to enact a law designed to spend millions of dollars that Illinois does not have,” Breen said.
“The state legislative process has steps that must be correctly followed in order to prevent budget-busting laws like this from being ramrodded through. It is part of our civic process of checks and balances.”
The lawsuit will be heard by Associate Judge Brian T. Otwell on Dec. 7 at the Sangamon County Courthouse.