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Cardinal Cupich thanks Gov. Rauner for promise to veto House Bill 40

Cardinal Cupich of Chicago today issued a public thanks to Gov. Bruce Rauner for his promise to veto House Bill 40 if it reaches his desk.

The controversial legislation would allow taxpayer money to be used to pay for elective abortions for Medicaid recipients and state employees — a provision that is currently prohibited by state law. Rauner last week — through a spokesperson — promised to veto the bill if it passes the Illinois Legislature.

Cardinal Cupich today issued the following statement:

"Last Friday, Governor Rauner promised to veto House Bill 40. This legislation, which is pending in the General Assembly, would use public dollars, through Illinois’ Medicaid and employee health insurance programs, to fund elective abortions at any stage of pregnancy for any reason. I thank him for this principled stand. Abortion is a controversial issue in this country, but using public money to provide abortions should not be. The federal government prohibits the practice, and polls show a substantial segment of the American public rejects it.

"I pray that this divisive issue will be put behind us and our government officials will now concentrate on the many difficult challenges facing Illinois. Most importantly, our political leaders must find a way to cooperate and craft a budget that serves all our people. It is essential that we unite in this effort, and I stand ready to help in any way."

HB 40 also deletes so-called "trigger" language in current Illinois law that states that if the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, the "former policy of this State to prohibit abortions unless necessary for the preservation of the mother's life shall be reinstated."

The legislation passed a House committee on a partisan 7-5 vote on Feb. 8, but has yet to be called for a vote on the House floor. Cardinal Cupich and the other bishops in the state have pushed hard against HB 40, calling upon lay Catholics to contact their state representatives to urge a "no" vote.