Taxpayers in Illinois paid for almost quadruple the number of abortions in the first six months of 2018 than they did in 2017 following a bill mandating the state pay for abortions.
There were only 84 abortions between January and June 2017, but that number skyrocketed to 314 in 2018, according to records from the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services, the Illinois News Network reported Monday.
The spike in abortions comes after Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, signed House Bill 40 in September 2017. The law mandates the state provide abortion coverage for Illinois residents and state employees via Medicaid. The state estimates it costs $1.8 million annually to pay for abortion coverage. The law took effect Jan. 1.
“By the time this program gets ramped up, these numbers are going to be 10 times what these preliminary numbers are,” said GOP state Rep. Peter Breen. He, along with a group of pro-life organizations and a number of Republican lawmakers, sued to block House Bill 40 and appealed to the Illinois state Supreme Court in February after a judge refused to hear their case. The lawsuit is currently pending.
Records from the Illinois Department of Public Health show that 2,970 out-of-state women received abortions in 2014. That number rose to 4,543 in 2016.
“Our Medicaid eligibility requirements are so lenient that we expect folks are going to come in from out of state, they will establish temporary residence to get their free abortion and then go home,” Breen said, pointing to the significant rise in out-of-state women having abortions on Illinois’ dime.
Planned Parenthood claims Breen is making nebulous allegations in an effort to discriminate against women who cannot afford to pay for their own reproductive health care services. “Breen is falsely claiming that out-of-state residents will be able to use their state Medicaid for abortion services in Illinois,” said Julie Lynn, Planned Parenthood of Illinois external affairs manager, according to the Illinois News Network.
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