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House Passes Abortion Funding Bill

Story by WBGZ Radio

Illinois House Democrats on Tuesday passed legislation that would expand taxpayer-funded abortions in the state.

With no Republicans voting yes, Illinois representatives passed  House Bill 40, 62-55, to allow state employee insurance and Medicaid to cover abortion procedures. 

Saying a potential overturning of Roe v Wade could be looming with President Donald Trump in the White House, Democrats said the bill also would keep abortion legal in Illinois should the court decision be reversed. Republicans disagreed with that notion. 

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In supporting the legislation, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, said taxpayer funds don't always go to things that taxpayers support.

"I'm anti-war. My tax dollars fund war. I'm fighting against incarceration. My tax dollars fund a prison system full of my black and brown neighbors," she said. "That's now how this works."

State Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, says Medicaid funds that would go to abortions are needed elsewhere.

"We're going to spend millions and millions of dollars to allow an expansion of Medicaid to fund abortions, then I guess I really just don't understand how we can say that we do care about the most vulnerable among us when we have limited funds anyway," Bryant said.

State Rep. Margo McDermed, R-Frankfort, says the added cost to Medicaid would crowd out other services.

"I don't think we want to be taking $60 million out of the funds that we have available for us today for things like Medicaid and education, and paying our pensions for heaven's sake," she said.

The bill now moves to the state Senate.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he would veto the bill since it allows taxpayer funds to pay for abortions.

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