SPRINGFIELD — In light of the recent decision by Governor Bruce Rauner to do an about-face regarding abortion coverage, Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, has filed a bill that would place stipulations on the conditions for which the state will cover abortions under Medicaid.
With the ratification of House Bill 40, Illinois became the first state in the nation to legalize taxpayer funding for elective or “on demand” abortions. Breen’s House Bill 4114 — which would challenge the bill signed by Rauner — is intended to stipulate Medicaid payment of abortions be restricted those women with a pregnancy resulting from rape, incest or a medical condition that threatens the woman’s life. Co-sponsor Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, cites over 35,000 abortions as having been conducted in 2015 within the state of Illinois. This figure is backed up by the official abortion statistics report issued in 2015 by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
According to Davidsmeyer, the state could spend between $30 million and $60 million covering elective abortions through Medicaid. According to information from the Office of Republican Leader Jim Durkin, the financial figure came from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.
93rd District Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, voted against HB 40 along with Davidsmeyer, Breen and other Republicans. She is also a co-sponsor of HB 4114.
“Illinois politicians should not force taxpayers to spend more money — especially when it comes to state-sponsored abortions,” Davidsmeyer stated.
HB 4114 is intended to mirror the federal Hyde Amendment, which only allows for tax dollars to be used for abortions in the case of rape, incest and life endangerment of the mother.
The synopsis for HB 4114 also indicates that those doctors found to have previously performed an abortion on a woman who was not pregnant is not eligible for the state’s Medical Assistance Program. The bill also allows for the Department of Human Services to award grants to nonprofit agencies and organizations that will not use those grant funds for the referring, counseling or performing of abortions.
“The number one issue that constituents have been discussing with me as I travel the district is the travesty and unprecedented – first in the nation – taxpayer-paid abortions,” said Davidsmeyer. “I morally cannot justify why taxpayers should be forced to cover the cost of abortions in our state.”
Davidsmeyer also pointed to the state’s $15 billion backlog of unpaid bills as one reason the state should not expand Medicaid abortion coverage.
Rauner signed HB 40 on Sept. 28. He was quoted by the Chicago Tribune as feeling the need to stay consistent with his values.
“I also believe that no woman should be forced to make a different decision than another woman would make purely based on her income,” he said. “I believe that a woman living with limited financial means should not be put in the position where she has to choose something different than a woman of higher income would be able to choose.”
In response to the signing, Republican Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti stated: “As a pro-life Republican, I disagree with the governor’s decision to sign HB 40. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for a 15-year-old refugee who chose to have me and keep me…I realize this bill is a political ploy to divide the people of Illinois. While I disagree with the governor on this, we must focus on our areas of agreement – enacting real reforms we need to turn Illinois around.”
Physicians for Reproductive Health Board Chair Dr. Willie Parker applauded Rauner’s signing of HB 40, considering the legislation to be a matter of providing equal access to healthcare; not about politics.
“Today, politics did not trump medicine,” Parker stated. “Governor Rauner acted in the best interest of the patients of Illinois. Everyone, regardless of their income or where their insurance comes from, deserves access to medical care, and this bill is an important step forward for the health, dignity, and economic security of Illinois patients. Now more than ever, it is essential that states take action to defend and promote access to comprehensive reproductive health care without political interference, and I applaud the state of Illinois for respecting the reproductive rights and bodily autonomy of its citizens.”
The Rauner supported HB 40 takes effect Jan. 1, 2018.
Background on IDPH
In compliance with the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, the Illinois Department of Public Health must issue a report on abortions or “pregnancy terminations” performed within the state. Health care providers statewide are required annually to present a form to the IDPH accounting for each abortion and data as requested on the form.
Although the IDPH has calculated all data provided by practitioners, figures 50 and less are not listed on the report given to the General Assembly, and some figures greater than 50 are suppressed to “prevent calculation of other suppressed numbers less than or equal to 50.”
•Age: Through analysis of the 2015 IDPH abortion report, the majority of women having abortions are between 20 and 34 years of age. The highest number was 10,794 women ages 20-24, followed by 9,658 ages 25-29. The highest age group increase was from the 18-19 age category to the 20-24 age category by a margin of over 8,500.
The number of abortions performed on women under 18 by county is not exactly known, as the figure for those 18-19 is lower than the 0-19 overall age category per county. The difference may be applied to those 17 and younger, but since the figures are “50 or less,” they are not displayed. In a lesser detailed summary of total state figures, IDPH noted that 82 girls 14 and younger had abortions, while 1,144 between 15 and 17 had abortions performed.
Separate figures are kept for out-of-state residents who have abortions performed in Illinois. That total is 3,210.
•Gestation: Through analysis of the IDPH report figures, the average majority of abortions were performed in the 4-7 week gestation period. The only counties to note abortions in the 16-19 week gestation period were Cook at 755 and Will at 51. Cook is the only county to note a figure for the 20-23 week period with 182. There were 2,466 abortions statewide conducted with “unknown” gestation period.
Of the 34,498 filed abortion documents, 21,129 of the women had reported previously giving birth.
•Demographics: The majority of women reported as not being married — 25,809. Those responding “yes” were 3,519. An unknown number was reported at 5,170.
Although the form asks women about marital status, age, race/ethnicity and education level, they are not asked their income level. There is no check box or field that indicates how the procedure is being paid for (i.e. cash, qualifying Medicaid or private insurance). In addition, even though women are asked their race or ethnicity, as well as education level, that information is not included in the official report delivered to the General Assembly.
The form does not ask for a name or address other than state and county.
The number of previous pregnancies (live and still births), spontaneous and induced terminations (miscarriages and abortions) and “reason for termination” are also asked.
In other data maintained by the IDPH, 180,503 babies were born in 2015 statewide with the oldest mother at 58 and youngest at 11. The oldest father was 71 and youngest at 13. The average parent age was 31 for fathers and 28.1 for mothers.
As the fact of whether a woman is married or not is stipulated on the standard abortion verification form, the IDPH reports statewide the oldest groom was 98 and oldest bride at 91. The youngest groom was 16 and youngest bride 16. Median age for marriage for groom and bridge was 30.3 and 28.2 respectively. There were 77,959 total marriages in 2015.
As a side note, the oldest man divorced was 102 with the oldest woman at 88. The youngest male and female divorcees were 16. The median divorced man’s age was 39.8 with women averaging 37.6 years old.
Reach Jared DuBach by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.