Abortion fight becomes matter of dollars-&-cents

Illinois Capitol News

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Pro-life warriors returned to the courthouse battleground, fighting to strike down a controversial abortion law passed last year.

“The General Assembly is doing right, whether they’re run by the Republicans, run by the Democrats, the courts have to step in and make it right.”

Conservative group, the Thomas More Society wants HB40, which allows for publicly-funded abortions, to be repealed. They argue the state didn’t budget for it.

Last time they were in court, the judge dismissed the case calling it political, but they’re in the fight for the long haul.

In court Wednesday, three judges overseeing the case echoed similar concerns as the lower court, raising questions about the political nature of the case.

But, Representative Peter Breen (R), the conservative championing this fight, sternly pushed back. He says it’s about fiscal responsibility.

His main point is the state didn’t set aside any money to pay for publicly funded abortions in last year’s budget because the law wasn’t signed until after the budget passed.

He also says lawmakers violated the law by failing to calculate a revenue estimate. It’s a ceiling set showing how much money the state has available to spend.

Lawmakers haven’t done that in years. GOP members brought the issue to a head during budget negotiations this year.

The Attorney General’s Office argues HB40 because law when both chambers passed it in May, before the budget deadline. It’s even though Governor Bruce Rauner didn’t sign it until a month later.

They also argued the law to have a revenue estimate isn’t in the Illinois constitution and labeled it as “directional.” A lot of back-and-forth on the technicalities and questions in the legislative process.

At the end, the judged mentioned they were impressed by both sides’ oral arguments. It could be months before they release an opinion.

Even if the case is dismissed, the Thomas More Society says it’s prepared to take the issue to the Supreme Court. At the end of the day, they want the court to uphold rules outlined in the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability Act (COGFA). 

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