SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois General Assembly is once again focused on putting together a state budget - one that should be considered before the end of May. If voted on after the last hour of May 2018, the vote requirements will change for passage. For the first time, Illinois will consider whether the state's taxpayers should be forced to fund abortions for girls and women on Medicaid or on the state's payroll.
(Video of speech is below)
State Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) appealed to his House colleagues Tuesday morning to "take off the table" the taxpayer funding of abortion by eliminating the line item from consideration with the rest of the state's budget. Rep. Breen's comments on the House floor:
This week, the General Assembly is wrapping up the budget process for the year, tough decisions are being made about which programs will be funded, and at what levels. There are items being traded back and forth to satisfy this constituency or that one.
But there are also items that are non-negotiable between the parties.
Certain items that the Democrats or the Republicans say, “That item is not on the table at all.”
Last year, by bare partisan majorities, this General Assembly enacted House Bill 40, which both eliminated our state’s longstanding prohibition against using tax dollars to pay for elective abortions, and created a program to begin providing those abortions.
Not one Republican, in either chamber of this General Assembly, supported House Bill 40, and many vocally opposed that bill, whether on this House Floor or in public. That’s because every innocent human life is a treasure of immeasurable worth.
But, predictably, in the current budget process, the General Assembly is now faced with the question of whether to fund that Democrat program of elective abortions.
This is the first year when that question will be answered, for when last year’s appropriations bills were passed, there was no concept that the Department of Healthcare and Family Services would later use those moneys to pay for elective abortions.
It is estimated that if the Democrat abortion program is funded, the state would pay for between 30,000 abortions on the high end and 20,000 abortions on the low end, each and every year.
The abortion clinic lobby has been salivating at the prospect of all this new money coming to them from the Democrat legislators they control.
In the wake of House Bill 40, the largest abortion provider in Illinois publicly posted its plans to open four new clinics in our state. But for any legislator—for any Illinoisan— who holds to the truth that a baby is a baby, whether born or unborn, this item is non-negotiable.
Babies are not bargaining chips. There is no price that can be put on a single innocent human life, much less 30,000 innocent human lives.
We all know the people are opposed to taxpayer funded abortion. Latest surveys show that 89% of Republicans oppose taxpayer funded abortion. 56% of Independents oppose taxpayer funded abortion. And even 43% of Democrats oppose taxpayer funded abortion.
Our Congressmen and women in Washington, for all their dysfunction, still understand and respect this deeply held belief. Despite their stances as either pro-choice or pro-life, they recognize that, while abortion may be legal, if you want an abortion, you pay for it yourself.
Each year, in the federal appropriations package, the Congress makes clear that tax dollars may not be used for elective abortions. The man who originally authored that language, Henry Hyde, began his political career in this very House Chamber, where he served as Majority Leader. And now the task falls to us, the 100th General Assembly of the State of Illinois.
If there is a majority of members who wish to fund these abortions, then go ahead and take a vote on it.
We who are pro-life are not going to be complicit in your plan to terminate 30,000 innocent little lives next year. You go to the people of this state, and you explain how you raised taxes, to make sure there was money to pay for your 30,000 elective abortions every year. But, if there is no such majority here for taxpayer funded abortion, then let’s get the abortion funding off the table and out of the budget right now.
Add the federal Hyde Amendment language to the budget implementation bill, to prohibit those dollars from being used for elective abortions. Or set aside a line item for the abortions, and zero that line out. There’s nothing stopping us from doing either of these.
There’s no federal constitutional or legal requirement to fund these abortions: the funding is banned at the federal level. There’s no state constitutional limit on this General Assembly in deciding generally to fund or not fund a particular program, whether it’s raises for AFSCME members that were never appropriated, or broadband internet in southern Illinois, both of which we just approved this past week. There is no room in the Illinois budget for taxpayer funded abortion.
If we stop this barbaric program, the people of this state will thank us, especially those tiniest Illinoisans, in their mother’s wombs, whose very survival hinges on the decisions of this General Assembly over these final three days of Legislative Session.