Illinois taxpayers file suit challenging law that expands abortion coverage

(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)Protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Taxpayers in Illinois have filed a lawsuit to challenge a new state law that expands public funding of elective abortions.

The complaint, filed by the Thomas More Society (TMS) on behalf of Illinois taxpayers, asks the Sangamon County Circuit Court to block state funding for House Bill 40, which requires public funding for abortions for anyone on Medicaid and for all insured state employees.

The lawsuit drafted by State Rep. Peter Breen (48th District) argued that the legislation is illegal because there are not enough funds to pay for elective abortions while still fulfilling the balanced budget requirements of the Illinois Constitution.

"The people of Illinois totally reject taxpayer-funded abortions," Breen, who also serves as Special Counsel for TMS, said in a statement on Thursday.

"Even apart from the sincere moral objections that many folks have to paying for abortions, there is no money in this year's Illinois state budget to pay for them," he continued.

The legislation, which was signed into law by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner at the end of September, does not limit the number of abortions covered by Medicaid and sets no limit on the amount of money spent on abortions.

After the passage of the bill, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago criticized Rauner, saying he was disappointed that the governor had broken his promise to veto the measure.

TMS asserted that the state would be required to pay between $15-30 million for abortions, funding as many as 30,000 procedures each year.

The taxpayer complaint also argued that HB40 did not make the constitutional cut-off date for legislation to go into effect at the beginning of the next calendar year.

"Regardless of your feelings about abortion, it is incredibly fiscally irresponsible to enact a law designed to spend millions of dollars that Illinois does not have," Breen said, according to Catholic News Agency.

"The state legislative process has steps that must be correctly followed in order to prevent budget-busting laws like this from being ramrodded through. It is part of our civic process of checks and balances," he added.

Life Site News reported that the Diocese of Springfield, as well as several Illinois lawmakers and nearly a dozen county and state-pro-life organizations, joined the suit. Some of the pro-life groups supporting the complaint include the Pro-Life Action League, the Illinois Right to Life Action and Illinois Federation for Right to Life.

The petition hearing for the complaint has been scheduled for Dec. 7 before Associate Judge Brian T. Otwell.

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