Abortion Access bill wins thanks to Rauner but causes backlash Photo by Getty Images / Pool
Photo by Getty Images / Pool

On Thursday, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill that would keep abortion legal in Illinois should the measure be threatened on a federal level. The Illinois Senate approved the measure 33-22. The vote was divided along party lines, with all opposing votes from the Republicans.

Authorized by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz [D-Lakeview], the bill was approved by the Illinois House in April on a 62-55 vote, with five Democrats voting no. This spring, Rauner said he would not sign the bill because he felt “the sharp divisions of opinion of taxpayer funding of abortion.” During the 2015 campaign, Rauner said he would support such legislation.

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According to reports on Thursday, Rauner made that veto threat as part of an unsuccessful effort to create a compromise that would separate the two halves of the bill.

“Passions on both sides run strongly,” said Rauner. “I deeply respect arguments on both sides.”

This bill would override parts of a 1975 law that would ban abortions in Illinois should the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision – which legalized abortion. Trump vowed to appoint anti-abortion Supreme Court justices during the campaign.

If Rauner were to veto the bill and Roe v. Wade was overturned, abortions would have been banned in Illinois even in cases of rape or incest, while abortions could be performed if the mother’s life were in danger.

Rauner says he supported that part of the bill wholeheartedly.

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“I personally am pro-choice,” said Rauner. “I always have been. I believe women have a right to decide what goes on in her own body.”

Though Rauner also said the “moral argument” opposing the other part of the bill was “irrefutable.” That provision will allow state medical aid and grants to nonprofits to pay for abortions, miscarriages, and premature births.

“No woman should be forced to make a decision about her health purely based on her income,” said Rauner.

Rauner also realizes this could affect his status with the anti-abortion members of his own party. The governor declined to comment whether this move would cause a Republican to challenge his bid for re-election.

“Politics are politics,” Rauner said.

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