CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that would provide state health insurance and Medicaid coverage for abortions.
The General Assembly controlled by Democrats approved the measure in May but delayed sending it to Rauner until Monday, in part because he has changed his mind about support of the plan.
“I understand abortion is a very emotional issue with passionate opinions on both sides,” Rauner said. “I sincerely respect those who believe abortion is morally wrong. They are good people motivated by principle.
“But, as I have always said, I believe a woman should have the right to make that choice herself and I do not believe that choice should be determined by income.”
As a candidate in 2014, Rauner said he would support expanding coverage for abortions. But last April he said he opposed the idea and said the state should focus on improving the economy.
The legislation also removes language in Illinois law that states a desire to criminalize abortion if Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing the procedure, is overturned.
Democrats adopted that provision after President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to abortion.
The Republican response was immediate and caustic after Rauner approved HB 40.
“It’s an absolute betrayal,” said State Rep. Peter Breen, the Republican floor leader in the Illinois House. Breen called Rauner ”a liar” and said the governor lied to none other than Cardinal Blase Cupich, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Chicago.
“That’s a broken commitment,” Breen said. “I know even the most corrupt Chicago machine politicians think twice before lying to a priest.”
Contributing: Associated Press