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Abortion advocates blast Rauner for not signing pledge to protect taxpayer-funded abortion

Illinois Watchdog.Org

Wednesday, July 11, 2018  |  Article  |  By Cole Lauterbach

Abortion (1) , Governor (44)
Abortion advocates blasted Gov. Bruce Rauner at a news conference Tuesday morning for failing to sign a pledge to protect a controversial bill that allows taxpayer money to be used for abortions.

Personal PAC President Terry Cosgrove took Rauner to task at the event in Chicago, the morning after President Donald Trump announced his latest Supreme Court pick. Personal PAC is a political action committee focused on electing candidates who support abortion rights.

Cosgrove said that the governor hasn’t signed a pledge sent to him by Personal PAC stating that he would protect the law as it is under House Bill 40. Rauner signed HB40 into law last year, upsetting conservative supporters.

The bill allows for taxpayer money to pay for abortions through Medicaid and state employee healthcare plans.

“The truth is, if re-elected, Gov. Rauner has proven he can’t be trusted to protect legal abortion in Illinois, unless the voters of Illinois have a written promise that if re-elected he won’t do anything to repeal, diminish or amend HB 40,” Cosgrove said.

Cosgrove and others at the news conference said that Rauner’s failure to sign the pledge they gave him was enough to drop him in favor of Democratic challenger, J.B. Pritzker, who signed the pledge.

Rauner faced political backlash for his decision on HB40. Anti-abortion Republicans across the state lashed out at the governor for signing the bill after promising not to engage on controversial social issues. Rauner also had previously said he would veto the measure. Rauner gave similar assurances to Cardinal Blase Cupich, the cardinal has said.

Rauner responded to questions about Personal PAC's criticism later that day.

"I signed legislation here in the state of Illinois so that womens' reproductive rights are protected regardless of what happens at the federal level," he said.

The news conference came the morning after President Donald Trump announced his nomination to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy with Washington D.C. federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh, signaling a possible shift to the right in the political dynamics of the nation’s highest court.

During the debate on HB40, lawmakers warned that the bill was necessary in the event that Roe v. Wade was overturned. Trigger language in the law would take effect should that happen, ensuring access to abortion is still enshrined in Illinois law.