Metro-East News

Pro-life groups file suit to stop state insurance and Medicaid from covering abortions

Kyle McCarter
Kyle McCarter

More than a dozen groups and lawmakers who oppose abortion have filed a lawsuit challenging a new law allowing state employee health insurance and Medicaid to cover abortion services.

The Thomas More Society filed the action Thursday in Sangamon County Circuit Court. It says including abortion among procedures covered by state employee health insurance and Medicaid beginning Jan. 1 is illegal.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the measure Sept. 28. It infuriated conservatives who allege he promised to veto it.

State Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, is Thomas More’s lawyer. He says taxpayers morally object to financing abortions, and he believes it’s illegal because there’s no state budget to cover the procedures, and because lawmakers held onto the legislation so long that the Constitution bars it from taking effect earlier than June 1.

Among the plaintiffs are state Sens. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, and Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, as well as 10 anti-abortion organizations and six other elected representatives. Among the organizations are Clinton County Citizens for Life and the Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

Schimpf said he joined the lawsuit because he believes the new law is a “radical departure” from long-standing Illinois public policy, and that the procedure approving it violated the law.

“If the life of one unborn baby can be spared, this effort will be worth it,” he said.

The Thomas More Society is self-described as a public interest law firm focused on religious liberty and pro-life legal services.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald