Abortion bill passes Illinois House

By Chicago Catholic
Sunday, April 30, 2017

On April 25, the Illinois House passed House Bill 40 authorizing the use of taxpayer money to pay for elective abortions for Medicaid recipients and state employees.

Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, criticized lawmakers: "Elected representatives today chose raw politics over the innocent lives of the unborn," Gilligan said.

The passage of House Bill 40 comes after the end of a legislative spring break marked by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s promise to veto the legislation, which brought accusations of broken campaign promises. Cardinal Cupich issued a public statement on April 19 in which he thanked the governor for his "principled stand" to veto HB 40. See statement, page 3.

"Abortion is a controversial issue in this country, but using public money to provide abortions should not be," Cardinal Cupich said in his statement.

Public opinion polls indicate strong opposition to public funding of abortion. A January 2017 poll conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion for the Knights of Columbus showed that 61 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including 40 percent of those who say they are pro-choice.

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.

The Catholic bishops of Illinois have strongly argued against House Bill 40, issuing letters to parishioners urging them to contact their state representatives to vote against the measure. Cardinal Cupich and the other Illinois bishops noted that a better use of taxpayer money in such dire fiscal times would be to fund prenatal services for the poor and child care for working mothers, as well as expand health-care options for those in need.

HB 40 passed the House on a 62-55 vote, and now moves to the Senate for consideration.


  • abortion
  • prolife
  • illinois

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