Activists Gather In Springfield To Protect Abortion Rights

CHICAGO (CBS) — On a day of women’s protests in Springfield, the Illinois House voted to expand taxpayer-funded abortion to state employees and medicaid patients — a bill Gov. Bruce Rauner says he’ll veto.

“We believe all women should have access to safe and legal abortion because we won’t go back,” said Brigid Leahy, who’s with Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

During the campaign, Rauner supported providing abortion insurance coverage to state workers and medicaid patients, but at taxpayers expense. Now, he’s promised to veto a house bill that would provide just that, calling it a distraction.

“It has everything to do with focus, what we should not do is take on divisive issues right now, when we do not have a balanced budget, when we do not have proper school funding,” Rauner said on Friday.

But on Tuesday, the House passed that measure anyway, on a count of 62 voting yes to 55 voting no.

“You can look up how people voted. It will be a clear litmus test as to who supports reproductive rights and who does not,” said Illinois Rep. Michael Madigan, which might exactly be the point — a vote providing clear campaign material for 2018.

The governor’s healthcare director, Felicia Norwood, defended his pro-choice credentials saying, “Gov. Rauner will continue to ensure that Illinois maintains protections for women seeking abortions.”

But Mayor Emanuel chimed in, saying this is more proof that Rauner’s word is hardly gospel. “And if your word is not valued or trusted, nobody will work with you.”

As those women descended on Springfield, Gov. Rauner wasn’t around. Rather, he was in Bloomington, touring the beer nuts factory. As for why he changed his position, Rauner apparently calculated that he simply can’t afford to rile up pro-life conservatives as he faces an election where he’ll need every republican vote he can get.

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