Democratic Illinois House OKs Public Funding for Abortions

John Cullerton

The bill - introduced by state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) earlier this year and co-sponsored by 24 other House Democrats - passed 62 to 55 and protects access to abortions in IL even if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

"Women should have access to safe, legal and accessible abortion no matter what their insurance is", said Chicago Democratic Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, the proposal's sponsor, in closing the floor debate.

The vote represented a rare legislative victory for abortion-rights advocates at a time when the battle to restrict abortion in the United States has heated up with the election of Trump as president with a conservative Congress.

Governor Bruce Rauner stopping in central Illinois Tuesday afternoon to talk about efforts to increase economic growth and job creation.

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A veto by Rauner would be a sharp turn from his previous position, which political opponents are poised to exploit. "We need to protect women's reproductive health in the state of IL, and we need to protect existing IL law". Medicaid now covers abortions in limited cases. The expansion would enable poor women to obtain elective abortions.

Rauner's office could not immediately be reached for comment, but his Republican backers in the House castigated the legislation as an immoral, costly drain on a state facing financial ruin. "Only an arrogant billionaire who thinks he's accountable to no one, would say the liberty of half the people of our state is a distraction". "Should it come from cancer screenings?"

The Illinois General Assembly is back in Springfield and is heading into the final six weeks of its spring session. He cited a 1989 analysis from the state's nonpartisan Legislative Research Unit that found IL would need to reinstate criminal penalties for abortion before that language could have any practical application. While the bill overall had enough votes to pass, it does not have a veto-proof majority.

State Senate leaders told abortion activists that they plan to push the bill through the legislature and work to override Rauner's veto.