ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK
A group of Republican Illinois lawmakers and pro-life organizations are suing the state of Illinois in an attempt to block controversial new legislation that would allow taxpayer dollars to be used to pay for elective abortions in the state.
The Thomas More Society said it filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs and taxpayers across the state today in Sangamon County Circuit Court to halt implementation of House Bill 40.
“The people of Illinois totally reject taxpayer-funded abortions,” Thomas More Society Special Counsel Peter Breen, who drafted the lawsuit, said in a statement. Breen also is a Republican state representative from Lombard.
“Under HB40, Illinoisans will be forced to pay for 20,000 to 30,000 abortions per year with their tax dollars,” Breen said. “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.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner angered many in his own party when he signed the Democratic-passed legislation in late September. The bill, which is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, allows taxpayer funds to be used for elective abortions through Medicaid and state employees’ health insurance. Rauner, who is pro choice, became the first U.S. governor in the country to sign legislation that allows taxpayer funding for elective abortions. Up until the new law takes effect, abortion is covered under Medicaid in Illinois only if the mother’s health or life is at risk or in the case of rape or incest.
Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, decided to run for governor in next year’s Republican primary against Rauner after he signed the legislation.
The lawsuit filed Thursday claims HB40 violates the balanced budget requirements of the Illinois Constitution because the General Assembly has not funded the initiative. It also argues that the measure should not take effect until June 1, 2018, because the Senate did not release it until Sept. 25.