Illinois' Catholic bishops today sent a letter to Illinois House members to reject House Bill 4013 and its call for public funding of abortions. Both the House and Senate reconvene today after a two-week spring break. House Bill 4013 passed the House Human Services Committee on a partisan 8-6 vote on March 18.
Read the letter below, or in PDF form. Read the accompanying press release. View the letter in Spanish and Polish.
April 14, 2015
We, the Catholic bishops of Illinois, write in regard to House Bill 4013, legislation which is a radical departure from longstanding Illinois health policy. As it allows taxpayer money to pay for abortions and funds grants to organizations that advocate for and perform abortions, we ask that you join us in opposing it.
These specific provisions of the legislation proposed are troubling:
- It removes the prohibition on state employees' health insurance plans from paying for elective abortions.
- It removes the prohibition on using taxpayer money to pay for elective abortions in the state's Medicaid program.
- It removes the prohibition on state-funded grants to organizations that refer, counsel for, or perform abortions. Current law calls for those grants to go to organizations that assist women experiencing problem pregnancies.
The American people have opposed the use of public money to support or promote elective abortion. As recently as March 2014, a CNN/ORC poll of over 1,000 adults nationwide found the public opposes the use of public funds for abortion by a margin of 56 percent to 39 percent. Additionally, there is nearly a forty-year history of federal legislation embracing this principle through the Hyde amendment to annual appropriations bills, and in numerous similar provisions governing a wide range of domestic and foreign programs.
The provisions of House Bill 4013 will force all taxpayers, even those opposed as a matter of conscience, to participate in funding the abortion industry. This is a radical shift in public policy as it totally disregards the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans steadfastly have opposed contributing their personal resources through tax dollars for the destruction of innocent human life. We ask that you reject this bill and not allow the use of public funds for abortion.
As we thank you for your thoughtful consideration of our request, this letter gives us the opportunity to express our gratitude for your public service and our high regard for the sacrifices it involves for you and your families.
Most Reverend Blase J. Cupich
Archbishop of Chicago
Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton
Bishop of Belleville
Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon
Bishop of Joliet
Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C.
Bishop of Peoria
Most Reverend David J. Malloy
Bishop of Rockford
Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki
Bishop of Springfield in Illinois