Southern IL residents speak out after Democratic IL House OKs public funding for abortions

IL House Bill 40 passes bill to allow abortions, moving to Senate

ILLINOIS (KFVS/AP) - The Democratic-controlled Illinois House has approved public funding for all abortions on Tuesday, April 25.

The House voted 62-55 on Tuesday to allow state-employee health insurance or Medicaid to cover abortions. Medicaid currently covers abortions in limited cases.

The vote capped a two-hour debate and coincided with the Illinois Women March on Springfield for a "progressive agenda."

The measure is sponsored by Chicago Democratic state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz. She called it an issue of fairness and said it also ensures abortion remains legal in Illinois if the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion is overturned.

Emily Kircher, a pro choice advocate, is in favor of women choosing their own health choices.

"Not just about a fetus, this is about a woman and woman's life. Her whole life is determined by this medical decision. And if you are not ready for it and you don't want, then you shouldn't have to do it," Kircher described.

However, a pro life advocate, hoped the bill is defeated. Jeff Chmiola said he believes in life from the moment of conception until natural death.

"Abortion on all forms is wrong, just like murder is wrong. And that's what abortion is, it's murder. It's legalized murder. And that's not right," Chmiola said.

One of the bill sponsors, State Representative Kelly Cassidy said for her, it's personal.

"The purpose is to protect Illinois women if Roe V. Wade is ever altered or overturned and to ensure that state employees and low-income women are able to access coverage. A right without meaningful access isn't a right at all. When my own health and fertility were threatened during my first pregnancy, my status as a county employee [rather than a state employee] is all that ensured I got the coverage I needed. This couldn't be more personal for me."

"Today is a victory for every woman in our state because it protects every woman's right to choose, Feigenholtz said. "I applaud my colleagues who took the critical vote that removed the dangerous anti-choice trigger language from the original act. Today, we stated unequivocally that access to safe legal abortion will remain protected in Illinois."

Governor Bruce Rauner has said he will veto the bill if it reaches his desk. The abortion bill is HB40.

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Copyright 2016 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press also contributed to this story.