Rauner Feels Pressure From Both Sides Over Abortion Funding Bill - NBC Chicago
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Rauner Feels Pressure From Both Sides Over Abortion Funding Bill

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    As Gov. Bruce Rauner weighs whether to sign or veto an abortion funding bill, he met Tuesday with several groups who favor the measure--but he did not disclose the meeting on his public schedule. Mary Ann Ahern reports.

    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017)

    As Gov. Bruce Rauner weighs whether to sign or veto an abortion funding bill, he met Tuesday with several groups who favor the measure--but he did not disclose the meeting on his public schedule.

    Rauner sat down with gay rights leaders as well as the American Civil Liberties Union and others. The governor's meetings are often not disclosed and he's certainly not the only elected official to do so. At Tuesday's meeting Rauner confided he's feeling pressure from both sides on what to do about expanding taxpayer funded abortions for women.

    Back in 2014, Rauner was elected as a social moderate, but now faced with a new abortion funding bill he is noncommittal.

    "I'm thinking and hearing from people on both sides," he said Monday.

    Rauner met earlier today at equality Illinois--besides those from the LGBTQ community, also at the meeting leaders from the ACLU.

    "This is the first time in over a year and half that he has sat down with as many LGBTQ and allied groups as he did this morning," said Brian Johnson of Equality Illinois.

    Rauner has now 59 days to decide is he will sign or veto house bill 40 that expands taxpayer subsidized abortions for women covered by medicaid and state employee insurance.

    "On April 14 he said to the people of Illinois and publicly, I'm going to veto the expanded state funding of abortions, now he's saying it's undecided," Republican State Rep. Dave McSweeney, of Barrington said. "It's a very disturbing pattern that the governor has."

    Democrat Sen. Tom Cullerton, of Villa Park, however, notes Rauner also promised back in 2014 not to restrict abortion coverage.

    "When you make those promises, and you make contradictory promises to both sides," the senator said. "Where did you really expect to end up at the end of the day."

    Signing the abortion bill, might prompt a more conservative republican to run against Rauner in the March primary.

    "If the governor signs this bill, I don't know where his base is anymore," McSweeney said.

    Those who attended Tuesday's meeting with Rauner said he did not make any new promises. Next up, there are indications the governor plans to meet with pro-life lawmakers this Friday.

    "If you made a promise to one group you were opposed, then another group you were for something, then all of a sudden the premise is right in front of you, where do you go," Cullerton said.

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