September 29, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Illinois’ liberal Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, stunned and outraged pro-life advocates yesterday by reversing himself and pledging to sign a bill forcing the state’s taxpayers to pay for Medicaid abortions.
Illinois taxpayers “will now be complicit in the deaths of 10,000 to 15,000 more babies every year,” after the bill, HB 40, becomes law, Illinois Family Institute (IFI) warned. Its projection is based on the increased number of new Medicaid recipients in the Democrat-dominated state in the last five years.
The new law also guarantees that Illinois will continue to allow abortion-on-demand even if the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling is overturned.
Rauner made his HB 40 announcement at a press conference Thursday as his wife and Illinois First Lady Diane Rauner, a pro-abortion feminist, applauded in the back of the room. The governor’s demeanor was somber and serious, as if he fully realized the devastating political implications in his own party of what he was saying.
Asserting that signing the bill was true to his values, Rauner said, “I personally am pro-choice. I always have been. And I made no qualms about that when I was elected governor. And I have not and never will change my views. I personally believe that a woman should have, must have, the right to decide what goes on in her own body.”
Later, the governor signed HB 40 with “no fanfare” and “did so privately, shortly after his news conference, with no invitations for the bill’s sponsors to attend,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Pro-life groups and leaders immediately hammered Rauner, who has veered left on other social issues, including the LGBT agenda and illegal immigration, as his prospects for re-election next year dim in the deep-blue state where hard-nosed Democratic politicians have blocked him at every turn. In August, Rauner signed a bill making Illinois close to a “sanctuary state,” which similarly shocked many of his fellow Republicans.
“This abhorrent bill has nothing to do with protecting women’s health and is about nothing more than providing a new income stream for the abortion lobby,” said the group Students For Life in a press release on HB 40. “Unfortunately, Governor Rauner gave into the pressure of the abortion industry, which has moved from choice to coercion, forcing people to not only support their extreme abortion agenda, but also to pay for it.“
Rauner broke his word
Up-and-coming social conservative leader and House Republican Floor Leader Peter Breen (R-Lombard), chastised Rauner for betraying Republicans, many of whom believed him when he said he would veto Democratic efforts to mandate tax-funded abortions.
“In politics, you are only as good as your word,” Breen said, predicting an “inevitable” GOP primary challenge to Rauner in March.
Breen, a strongly pro-life Catholic, vowed to no longer support the governor within his own Party and said regarding the 2018 gubernatorial race, “It’s not that hard to get on the ballot to be governor when you’ve got this kind of groundswell of opposition that I believe is going to be mounting here in the next few days.”
“I know hundreds of elected Republicans, along with hundreds of thousands of Republican voters, who feel the same way I do,” said Breen, a pro-religious freedom litigator with the Thomas More Society.
“When you look someone in the eye and shake their hand and tell them you’re going to do something and then you reverse course, that’s a broken commitment,” he said. “As I understand it, he made that commitment to the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago. I know even the most corrupt Chicago machine politicians think twice before lying to a priest.”
Cupich criticizes broken promise
As for Cardinal Blase Cupich, he was more subdued than Breen but similarly expressed his disappointment that Rauner broke a promise to him to veto HB 40. A statement by the Catholic Conference of Illinois said, “We are deeply disturbed that Governor Rauner has broken his word and firm public promise to veto HB 40.”
“He did break his word. He broke his word to the people, especially those who have continued to speak on behalf of the vulnerable child in the womb,” the liberal Cardinal said, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
In April, Cupich publicly thanked Rauner for pledging to veto HB 40. At the time, he noted an additional special concern regarding HB 40: it “deletes so-called ‘trigger’ language in current Illinois law that states that if the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, the ‘former policy of this State to prohibit abortions unless necessary for the preservation of the mother's life shall be reinstated.’”
In other words, should the infamous 1973 Roe decision ever be overturned, as many millions of pro-lifers hope and pray for, and are working toward, the state-sanctioned killing of unborn babies would continue unabated in the Land of Lincoln.
The Pro-Life Action League, founded by Joe Scheidler but now run by his son, Eric, issued a statement about Rauner’s flip-flop: “When he was running for governor, Bruce Rauner insisted he had no social agenda. But now, by signing HB 40, he is forcing Illinois taxpayers to pay for abortions. This measure is conservatively predicted to increase annual abortions in Illinois by at least 3,800. That means 3,800 unborn children will die because Bruce Rauner lied to us and signed this bill. What pro-live voter will stand by him in 2018? None.”
Rauner may have doomed his chances of getting re-elected by alienating the key GOP voting block of pro-lifers, but by reneging on his pledge to veto HB 40 he did fulfill a prediction made by his wife, Diane, who said in 2014: “There's no way he [Rauner] will ever let anything happen to our reproductive rights.”