Press Releases

10
May

The Illinois Senate today approved House Bill 40 on a vote of 33-22. You can view the vote count here. This legislation allows public money to be used to pay for elective abortions for Medicaid participants and state employees. CCI issued the following statement after final passage of HB 40.

 

Statement on Illinois Senate passage of HB 40, taxpayer funding of abortion

We are dismayed the Illinois Senate followed the House in passing House Bill 40, which allows taxpayer monies to pay for elective abortions in the Medicaid program and state employees’ health insurance plans. Public opinion polls regularly show little support for this public policy move. We thank Governor Bruce Rauner for his promise to veto House Bill 40, and we will continue to make our voices heard in the coming days about this troubling legislation.

 

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25
Apr

The head of the public policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops today lamented Illinois House passage of legislation authorizing the use of taxpayer money to pay for elective abortions for Medicaid recipients and state employees.

Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, criticized lawmakers for turning a moral argument into campaign fodder.

“Elected representatives today chose raw politics over the innocent lives of the unborn,” Gilligan said.

Today’s passage of House Bill 40 denoted the culmination of a legislative spring break marked by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s promise to veto the legislation, which was quickly followed by accusations of broken campaign promises. Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago last week issued a public statement in which he thanked the governor for his “principled stand” to veto HB 40.

“Abortion is a controversial issue in this country, but using public money to provide abortions should not be,” Cardinal Cupich stated.

Public opinion polls indicate strong opposition to public funding of abortion. A January 2017 poll conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion for the Knights of Columbus shows that 61 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including 40 percent of those who say they are pro-choice.

Only 15 states currently pay for elective abortions for Medicaid participants, and 11 of those states do so through a court order, not legislative action.

Gilligan stressed the House’s vote represented a dangerous misplacement of priorities, especially when the state has not had a budget for 22 months and has nearly $13 billion in overdue bills.

“The state can’t pay for essential services, and lawmakers are funding elective abortions – where is the logic in that?” he said.

Illinois’ Catholic bishops have lobbied hard against House Bill 40, issuing letters to parishioners urging them to contact their state representatives to vote against the measure. Cardinal Cupich and the other bishops noted that a better use of taxpayer money in such dire fiscal times would be to fund prenatal services for the poor and child care for working mothers, as well as expand health-care options for those in need.

HB 40 passed the House on a 62-55 vote, and now moves to the Senate for consideration. The vote roll call can be seen here.

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The Catholic Conference of Illinois was created in 1969 to serve as the public policy voice of the Illinois bishops and the six diocese of the state: Belleville, Chicago, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield-in-Illinois.

09
Oct

The Catholic Conference of Illinois today congratulates Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago, who serves as the chairman of our board, on his elevation to cardinal by Pope Francis. We are grateful for and look forward to his continued leadership.

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The Catholic Conference of Illinois was created in 1969 to serve as the public policy voice of the Illinois bishops and the six dioceses of the state: Belleville, Chicago, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield-in-Illinois.

17
Sep

CCI issues statement on Senate Bill 1564

The Catholic Conference of Illinois on May 25 released a statement on Senate Bill 1564, which just passed the Illinois House after previously passing the Senate. It now returns to the Senate for concurrence on a minor House amendment. The Senate is expected to concur.

UPDATE: The Senate did concur with the minor House amendment. The bill now goes to the governor for his consideration.

UPDATE 2: Governor Bruce Rauner on Fri., July 29, signed SB 1564 into law. It will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

The statement follows, or can be viewed as a PDF.

 

May 25, 2016

STATEMENT ON SENATE BILL 1564
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As originally proposed, Senate Bill 1564 would have gutted the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act.  Although the original bill had sufficient support for passage in the legislature, the Catholic Conference of Illinois was successful in negotiating removal of the more problematic provisions of the bill.

Consequently, the Catholic Conference of Illinois is neutral on Senate Bill 1564 as amended by Amendment #3 in the Senate. Amendment #3 protects the right of conscience for healthcare professionals and facilities.  They can still refuse to perform, assist, counsel, suggest, pay for, recommend, refer or participate in any form of medical practice or health care service that is contrary to his or her conscience.  
 
What will be "new" is an information protocol that says when a conscience objection is invoked, the patient's condition, prognosis and treatment options will be discussed. This is already standard medical practice at Catholic healthcare facilities.  If the patient insists on a morally objectionable service, a list of healthcare providers without specific reference to any particular service will be given to the patient to seek out different medical consultations.  In our opinion, this list does not constitute a direct referral nor does it guarantee an outcome.  

Even with these protections, we would rather not alter the law in any way.  It is important to recognize that neutrality does not mean support.  However, considering the current realities of politics in our state, we believe that refusing everything but the status quo was going to lead to a much worse result.

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The Catholic Conference of Illinois was created in 1969 to serve as the public policy voice of the Illinois bishops and the six dioceses of the state: Belleville, Chicago, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield-in-Illinois.