Illinois Catholic bishops today sent a letter to Illinois House members to reject House Bill 4013 and its call for public funding of abortions. House Bill 4013 passed the House Human Services Committee on a partisan 8-6 vote in March 2015, but was sent back to the Rules Committee after a short availability for a vote on the House floor.
However, the legislation popped out of Rules Committee last week, and can again be called for a vote on the House floor at any time.
Read the letter below, or in PDF form.
April 12, 2016
We the Catholic Bishops of Illinois write to express our gratitude for your service as an elected official. During his address to a joint session of the United States Congress, Pope Francis made clear the noble vocation of public service. We join him in expressing appreciation for all that you do.
On this occasion, we once again want to express our position on House Bill 4013. This legislation proposes to make radical changes in Illinois state policies, which we oppose. It would:
• remove the prohibition on state employee’s health plans from paying for elective abortions;
• remove the prohibition in Illinois’ Public Aid Code on using public monies for elective abortions;
• remove the requirement that any claims on public money for reimbursement on specifically sanctioned abortions include a written statement with the opinion of the physician as to the procedure’s necessity;
• remove a further prohibition in Illinois Public Aid Code against permitting financial aid for the purpose of obtaining an elective abortion; and
• amend the Problem Pregnancy Health Services and Care Act to remove a prohibition on grants to organize who will use the money to refer, counsel for or perform abortions.
It has been our long-standing view, of which many share, that the government should not use public money to support or promote elective abortion. Since 1976, the federal government has embraced this principle through the Hyde amendment to annual appropriation bills, and in numerous similar provisions governing a wide range of domestic and foreign programs. This approach has the strong support of the American people.
A study published by the Guttmacher Institute found the abortion rate among women enrolled in Medicaid more than doubles if they live in a state that funds abortion through Medicaid. No lawmaker can support this legislation and still claim to support “reducing the instances of abortion.”
The provisions for House Bill 4013 make all taxpayers participants in the expansion of the abortion industry. You may not believe, as we do, that abortion involves the destruction of innocent human life. However, by rejecting the utilization of public funds for abortion, you would stand with the overwhelming majority of Illinoisans who at least recognize the tragedy of abortion and wish not to contribute their tax dollars to its occurrence.
Thank you for your consideration of the matter. Again, many thanks for your service.
Most Reverend Blase J. Cupich
Archbishop of Chicago
Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton
Bishop of Belleville
Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky
Bishop of Peoria
Most Reverend Thomas J. Paprocki
Bishop of Springfield
Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon
Bishop of Joliet
Most Reverend David J. Malloy
Bishop of Rockford