Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Illinois can’t pay its bills but still pays for abortions

Abortion | Pro-lifers ask state Supreme Court to enforce a balanced budget and save babies
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 9/24/18, 04:08 pm

Pro-life advocates in Illinois are turning to the state Supreme Court to rule on an Illinois law that established taxpayer funding of abortions.

Ten pro-life organizations, eight state legislators, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Ill., filed suit late last year against the 2017 law, which provides coverage for abortions for state employees and Medicaid recipients. The plaintiffs estimate the law could cost taxpayers close to $30 million and say it violates Illinois’ balanced budget requirement. Last week, three judges from the Illinois Appellate Court sided with the state, saying they could not interfere with how the legislature handles its budget.

Now the Thomas More Society, a pro-life legal group litigating the case, is appealing to the state Supreme Court.

The Illinois Constitution states the General Assembly must make appropriations for all expenditures, which “shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.” But legislators haven’t balanced the budget since the late 1980s, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The state has accrued more than $200 billion in unpaid bills and unfunded pension liabilities.

“Into that scenario, you add an additional mandate that is likely to cost the state tens of millions of dollars,” said Peter Breen, a Thomas More Society attorney and Illinois state representative. “There’s no money available for these new services.”

Breen’s group is also arguing that because both houses of the legislature did not approve the abortion funding measure before May 31, 2017, it was not supposed to go into effect until June 1 of that year. But the government may have begun paying for abortions beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. Illinois appellate Judge Lisa Holder White said both houses passed the bill by May 10, 2017, but Breen pointed to a motion to reconsider later filed by Sen. Don Harmon, which he withdrew in September 2017.

“This ruling essentially strips two key protections from the people of the state of Illinois, and on issues so important that the Supreme Court needs to make the final call,” Breen said.

Cathy Ruse, an attorney with the Family Research Council, told me that finances aside, the use of tax dollars to cover abortions is “a non-starter for most people, including most women.” She pointed to a Marist Institute for Public Opinion poll published in January that showed 60 percent of Americans oppose the practice.

“Paying for the abortion of up to 30,000 babies every year is not only offensive, but extremely expensive, and the officials responsible for this measure haven’t set aside money in the state budget to pay for it,” Ruse said.

Creative Commons/FDA Creative Commons/FDA The U.S. Food and Drug Administration campus in Silver Spring, Md.

Pro-life leaders speak out against FDA use of aborted babies

Dozens of leaders of state and national pro-life groups are urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to stop using aborted fetal tissue in its research.

A report last month showed the FDA purchases human fetal tissue to use in breeding “humanized” mice with human immune systems. Undercover pro-life advocate David Daleiden has reported that the FDA’s source company, Advanced Bioscience Resources, procured the tissue from the bodies of babies aborted at Planned Parenthood facilities.

In a letter dated Sept. 11 to Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 45 signers said they were “shocked and dismayed” by the report. They represented groups such as the Susan B. Anthony List, the Family Research Council, Americans United for Life, Students for Life of America, and the American College of Pediatricians.

“We expect far better of our federal agencies,” they wrote. “It is completely unacceptable to discover that the FDA is using federal tax dollars and fomenting demand for human body parts taken from babies who are aborted.”

They requested additional information from the FDA on its contract with Advanced Bioscience Resources, including how many specimens it ordered, the gestational ages of the aborted babies, and whether other federal agencies were conducting similar experiments.

They called the research irresponsible since alternatives to creating mice with human immune systems exist, including using umbilical cord blood stem cells and adult peripheral blood stem cells.

“The federal government must find ethical alternatives as soon as possible and should end all association with those who participate in any trafficking or procurement of aborted baby organs,” the letter stated. “No taxpayer dollars should continue to go to this gruesome practice.” —S.G.

Associated Press/Photo by Rich Pedroncelli Associated Press/Photo by Rich Pedroncelli A 2015 demonstration supporting assisted suicide in California

State updates

Idaho: A recent law requiring healthcare providers to report abortion-related complications to the state is under fire from the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. Deborah Ferguson, an attorney representing the groups in their lawsuit, said the law is “unconstitutional and is overly vague.” The law requires doctors to report information including age, race, previous pregnancies, live births, and abortions of the woman experiencing the complication. Attorneys for the state argued in court documents that the information does not include the “patient’s name, Social Security number and other common identifiers and information that would make it possible to identify her.”

Hawaii: Months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a California law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion, a U.S. district court in Hawaii struck down a similar law. A Place for Women in Waipio and other pro-life pregnancy centers filed suit last year, saying the law violated their freedoms of religion and speech. Derald Skinner, pastor of Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor and president of A Place for Women in Waipio, said in a statement the group is “grateful that the state has backed off its unconstitutional attack on our ministry. Our doors remain open and we continue to offer love, care, and compassion for all women and their precious little babies in our community.”

California: Gov. Jerry Brown signed State Bill 282 this month, giving legal protection to people who urge others to sign up for assisted suicide. If relatives, friends, or medical providers are “compliant with the provisions of the End of Life Option Act,” they will be exempt from prosecution for aiding, advising, or encouraging suicide. But the state’s assisted suicide law hasn’t been in effect since May when a judge overturned it. —S.G.

Ireland to offer free abortions

Irish Health Minister Simon Harris announced last week after the nation passed a law to officially legalize abortion through 12 weeks of gestation, taxpayers will cover the cost. Ireland opened the door to legalized abortion in May with a referendum that removed the country’s constitutional protection of unborn babies. Harris said he wants abortion to be “part of our healthcare system.”

The Pro Life Campaign’s Ruth Cullen said the announcement is a “rude awakening for anyone who thought the law would be somewhat less restrictive.” She added, “It is clear Health Minister Simon Harris and others in government have no interest in hearing perspectives other than ones that zealously back abortion. It is going to take time, but the public will realize the full extent of the charade that is going on when the reality of what the abortion law permits starts to sink in.” —S.G.

Expanding euthanasia in Canada

Quebec politicians are calling for Alzheimer’s disease patients to be allowed to die by assisted suicide as long as they gave their consent in a living will before the onset of Alzheimer’s. Currently, those who want to die by assisted suicide must be suffering from an incurable disease but still of sound mind. —S.G.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.

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  • news2me
    Posted: Fri, 09/28/2018 08:27 pm

    If Illinois has no money, where is their money coming from?