An Illinois judge has denied an emergency injunction that would have blocked the January 1 expansion of abortion funding in the state. The law, which will expand abortion coverage through Medicaid and state employee group health insurance, is expected to increase the number of intentional pre-born deaths by tens of thousands.
A lawsuit to stop the legislation was filed in late November by the Thomas More Society, a pro-life legal advocacy group, through special counsel Peter Breen, who also serves in the Illinois State Legislature. The organization said the suit was filed on behalf of Illinois taxpayers forced against their conscience to fund abortion, a number of statewide pro-life organizations, the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, and a contingent of Illinois legislators from across the state.
Breen explained that the injunction would have blocked the New Year's Day implementation of the law, “under which Illinois taxpayers would be forced to pay for 20,000 to 30,000 or more abortions per year.”
He added that apart from the deep moral objection a majority of Illinois residents have to killing pre-born babies, “there is no money in the Illinois state budget to pay for them. And, because of games played by Senate Democrats, in holding HB 40 until late September, after the May 31 cutoff for legislative action, this bill can’t be effective until June 1, certainly not on January 1.”
But on December 28 Illinois Circuit Judge Jennifer Ascher ruled against the injunction, saying that the court court would not intervene in “political questions” concerning the Illinois General Assembly, such as the date a law goes into effect or whether or not there is funding for the measure.
Breen said he planned to file an appeal in state appellate court to stop the abortion law from moving forward. “We respectfully disagree with the court’s ruling and will seek an immediate appeal,” Breen said in a statement. “The Illinois Constitution was clearly violated here.”
Breen told reporters that “after today's argument, I'm more confident than ever in the truth and the correctness of our position. I heard nothing today that caused me to think that somehow the General Assembly has done its job any more than it had a few days ago.”
Breen also accused Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner of lying to Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich about his position on the bill. In April Rauner, who has labeled himself “pro-choice,” said he would veto the controversial abortion funding bill, only to sign it in September with the comment that “no woman should be forced to make a different decision than another woman would make purely based on her income. I believe that a woman living with limited financial means should not be put in the position where she has to choose something different than a woman of higher income would be able to choose.”
As he signed the bill the governor claimed that “I tried in the spring, and I've tried for months as this bill was debated and ultimately passed, to find common ground with both sides of this issue. We were unable to do that. The passions run too deep.”
Breen responded by saying that “even the most corrupt Chicago machine politicians think twice before lying to a priest.”
Cardinal Cupich also expressed his disappointment over Rauner's dishonesty. Recalling that the governor had indeed pledged to him to veto the bill, the cardinal told the Chicago Tribune: “I reminded him of the promise and also my statement earlier thanking him for that. 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.”
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