Editorials

Smaller chance 2019’s first baby will be born to Illinois state worker

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed H.B. 40, allowing state Medicaid recipients and state workers to obtain taxpayer-funded abortions for any reason starting Jan. 1. A lawsuit was filed to block the law.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed H.B. 40, allowing state Medicaid recipients and state workers to obtain taxpayer-funded abortions for any reason starting Jan. 1. A lawsuit was filed to block the law. dholtmann@bnd.com

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner may have taken his lack of popularity to new lows.

A few months ago he made Illinois the first state to publicly fund abortions for any reason. Impoverished women and state employees on Jan. 1 will be able to abort at will on the public’s dime.

Conservatives vilified him for breaking his promise to veto the Democrat-sponsored bill. He made that promise after telling voters he was pro-choice.

Then he gave voters even more reason to cherish his leadership by announcing he’s “not in charge,” and implying Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan is.

Whichever side you are on regarding the abortion debate, you have to wonder about the political calculus behind Rauner’s stance, then promise, then decision to do what not even a Democratic governor who thought it was OK to sell a U.S. Senate seat had dared to do. On top of that, he added this new expense while our state was in financial Armageddon.

The cost: 12,000 babies; anywhere from $2 million to $21 million in new medical costs.

Why take on a new financial burden, especially a politically toxic financial burden? Why be the vanguard of a public policy that nearly 60 percent of our very blue state’s residents oppose as a use of their tax dollars?

Two conservative state senators, Kyle McCarter and Paul Schimpf, filed suit to block the law from taking effect Jan. 1. They joined a dozen anti-abortion groups and the Catholic Diocese of Springfield in the lawsuit.

Rauner in the end may have been true to his pro-choice roots. Voters in the end may use this issue to choose whether to terminate Rauner’s stay in Springfield and find someone who will take charge.

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