State Representative Sara Feigenholtz and state Senator Heather Steans were the chief sponsors of House Bill 40 in the Illinois House and Senate respectively. HB40 protects Illinois women from being denied their choice when it comes to reproductive health justice. HB40 passed in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly, but Governor Bruce Rauner has indicated he will veto it when it comes to his desk.

In consultation with Feigenholtz and Steans, state Senator Don Harmon (also a co-sponsor in the Senate) announced he will not forward the bill to the Governor. Sen. Harmon is buying time for the public to help change the mind of Governor Rauner. If you believe that women have the right to make their own decisions about health care, including the right to an abortion, call Gov. Rauner’s Chicago office (312-814-2121) and tell the person who answers the phone that you support passage of HB40.

HB40 removes “trigger” language from current Illinois abortion law. Should the U.S. Supreme Court strike down abortion rights, the Illinois abortion bill would “trigger” an end to abortion rights in Illinois. HB40 stops this.

HB40 also eliminates discriminatory provisions from Illinois law that deny insurance coverage of abortion for women who depend on Medicaid and State Employee Health Insurance. When it comes to reproductive health justice, Medicaid is generally used by poor women.

I’ve been calling Gov. Rauner’s office just about every week, urging him to pass HB40. Often when I call, I say that I’ve heard that Diana and Bruce Rauner have provided financial support for Planned Parenthood. When I called this week, I told the person who answered the phone I couldn’t understand why Gov. Rauner would financially support Planned Parenthood but threaten to veto HB40. The woman I was talking with said she understood that the governor “didn’t want taxpayers to foot the bill.”

Gov. Megabucks doesn’t want poor people to take advantage of Illinois taxpayers. That’s class war at work, not fiscal responsibility. If you agree, call Gov. Rauner at his Chicago office (312-814-2121) and tell whoever answers the phone that Gov. Rauner should sign HB40 in the name of reproductive health justice.

Tom Broderick

Oak Park

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