A law firm representing religious liberty concerns has filed a lawsuit to stop the implementation of taxpayer-funded abortions through House Bill 40 (HB40) in Illinois on Jan. 1.
The Chicago-based Thomas More Society suit argue that the General Assembly has not set aside funds in the state’s budget to pay for the abortions and remain within the Balanced Budget requirements of the Illinois Constitution. It also contends, according to the Thomas More Society, that the law cannot become effective until June 1 because it missed a May 31 cut-off date for General Assembly action.
“We’ve got $1.7 billion more appropriations than we’ve got revenue coming in,” said Peter Breen, Special Counsel for the Thomas More Society. “I don’t see how we’re going to find the money to pay for these elective abortions.”
Initial arguments were heard in the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court December 6 at the Sangamon County Courthouse in Springfield. Breen asked when the state planned to implement HB40. Attorney’s representing the state replied they were not prepared to answer the question.
Associate Judge Jennifer Ascher set the next hearing for Dec. 28. If the state does not intend to implement HB40 on January 1, the Dec. 28 hearing will most likely be rescheduled due to the upcoming holidays.
The suit is being brought by numerous state legislators, pro-life organizations and the Diocese of Springfield.
Following the hearing, Breen, who is also a state representative (R-Lombard), was asked about the projected cost of implementing HB40. “Based on numbers from the Health and Family Services Department, it costs $750-$1,000 per abortion you’re looking at between 20-30,000 abortions [being performed].” He stated that would bring the total cost to $15-$30 million, funds not reimbursed by federal Medicaid.
Breen later said, “We’re always talking about how our children are our future. So how can you argue that somehow aborting more children is going to bring more value to the State of Illinois?”
When asked about the religious liberty aspects of HB40, Breen said, “This lawsuit is very specifically about public funds…We don’t have moral argument in court. We’re just looking at the misuse of public funds.”
The suit was filed on behalf of several legislators and pro-life groups who are opposing HB40, which would provide coverage for abortions through Medicaid and state employees’ health insurance plans.
In November, messengers to the IBSA Annual Meeting passed a resolution calling for the repeal of HB40, pledging support for “the rights of the unborn,” and claiming, “all human life is God-given and sacred, and should be protected by moral and righteous government.”
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner originally pledged to veto the HB40 if it came to his desk, but signed it into law Sept. 28—to the dismay of Christians and pro-life advocates. State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) is working to get on the Republican primary ballot against Rauner in March.
“He lied to us,” Ives said in an Associated Press article last month. “None of us trust him anymore.”
– Lisa Misner Sergent