Illinois Senate Approves State-Funded Abortion Coverage

May 10, 2017

A controversial measure approved Wednesday in the Illinois Senate would expand government funding of abortion to include state employees and lower-income women on government health plans.

Credit Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

It also would repeal a so-called “trigger” in state law which Democrats argue could automatically outlaw abortion should the 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision ever be overturned.

Many Republicans found the expanded funding particularly objectionable.

“At a time when we cannot find money to fund our schools,” asked Sen. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy, “why would we use taxpayer money to fund abortions of children?”

Senator Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, made what she called an “economic argument” for the legislation.

"We find that many people who are in this situation cite as their example — the need to do this — financial ones,” Hutchinson said, “and many of them already have children. So in your pro-life argument, I would ask you to consider that there’s not just one life there."

Senators voted 33-22 in favor of the plan.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he’ll veto the bill, citing divided public opinion on the question of government funding. That’s a departure from statements he made during the 2014 campaign, when he told an abortion-rights group he supported the ideas in the legislation.

Rauner publicly opposed the bill before it won House approval last month amid calls from conservative groups to veto it.

  • The Associated Press contributed to this story.