Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner angered fellow Republicans Thursday by signing into law a bill that would provide state health insurance and Medicaid coverage for elective abortions and would codify Roe v. Wade, by removing language in state law that says abortion would be criminalized in the state if the 1973 ruling is overturned on the federal level.
Rauner noted as he signed the bill that he is personally pro-choice and always has been, adding that he had to be “consistent with my values."
"I also believe that no woman should be forced to make a different decision than another woman would make purely based on her income," he said. "I believe that a woman living with limited financial means should not be put in the position where she has to choose something different than a woman of higher income would be able to choose."
"I tried in the spring, and I've tried for months as this bill was debated and ultimately passed, to find common ground with both sides of this issue," Rauner said at a news conference. "We were unable to do that. The passions run too deep."
However, Rauner was accused by Rep. Peter Breen, the Illinois House Republican floor leader, of lying to Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich about the stance he was going to take on the legislation.
"Even the most corrupt Chicago machine politicians think twice before lying to a priest," Breen said.
Cupich expressed his disappointment to The Chicago Tribune over the broken promise, referencing the pledge Rauner made in the spring to veto the bill.
"I reminded him of the promise and also my statement earlier thanking him for that," Cupich told the Tribune. "He did break his word. He broke his word to the people, especially those who have continued to speak on behalf of the vulnerable child in the womb."
Rauner had termed the bill “controversial” in April saying he would veto the measure due to the expansion of taxpayer funded abortion which he had wanted to table for a later date.
Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and NARAL applauded Rauner's decision to sign the bill. Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards tweeted that it’s “fantastic to be in Chicago as more people in Illinois gain access to the care they need.”
Fantastic to be in Chicago as more people in Illinois gain access to the care they need. https://t.co/xsnXsoyMmz— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) September 28, 2017
Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL, said that Rauner had “removed dangerous and medically unnecessary obstacles to abortion care so the states underserved communities can finally access their right to essential reproductive healthcare.”
Taxpayer-funded abortion is not in line with the views of most Americans. Recent polling found that 61 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer-funded abortions in the United States.