The fallout from Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s decision to expand abortion services continues.
Illinois’ religious community is fuming.
“The governor broke a promise,” said Robert Gilligan, Executive Director Catholic Conference of Illinois. “He said he was going to do one thing. He said he was going to veto House Bill 40 and then he did another thing. He signed it.”
HB40 expands taxpayer funding for abortions and prevents abortions from becoming illegal in Illinois if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
Governor Rauner stunned conservatives by signing the measure after pledging to veto it last Spring.
Cardinal Blase Cupich told the Chicago Tribune he feels betrayed. Cupich said “it saddens me a lot.”
Conservatives have stuck with Rauner taking a stance on issues such as protection for undocumented immigrants, but some say expanding abortion crosses the line.
“This means that thousands, tens of thousands of children will never make it into the world and we’re going to pay for that,” Gilligan said. “I’ve been on the phone half the day talking to people who are now considering — you hear talk about a primary opponent, you hear talk about what’s the next steps.”
A member of GOP House leadership has already come out saying he no longer supports Governor Rauner, who is up for reelection next year.
But not everyone thinks Rauner has damaged himself politically.
Pat Brady is the former chair of the Illinois Republican Party and a strong Rauner supporter.
“A lot of the suburban folks that he needs to win this election, he needs to win and I think they like what he did yesterday,” he said.
Brady points out that votes knew Rauner was pro-choice when they elected him three years ago and Republicans will forgive him for signing HB40.
“The realty is we can support Bruce Rauner and the reforms he’s trying to get done or we can go back to Madigan and Blagojevich type era which is going to guarantee a tax increase and more corruption, more cronyism and more of the same stuff people just don’t like,” Brady said.
There is speculation Rauner took this stand because he will not seek reelection next year. But today his campaign told us to his decision to sign the abortion bill hasn’t changed any plans. And they continue to circulate petitions to get on the ballot.