Wednesday, May 10, 2017

EXTRA: Governor Rauner damned if he does or even if he doesn’t; Part 2

Gov. Bruce Rauner has gone out of his way to avoid taking a firm stance on health care reform; knowing he’s going to take a hit no matter what side of the issue he comes down on.
RAUNER: How can he win?

But this won’t be the only issue where the governor will face a dilemma; in fact, he may well take a bigger body blow from abortion. And this is one where Democratic political operatives are eager to make the governor squirm more than a little bit!

FOR THE STATE Senate on Wednesday gave its approval to a measure the Illinois House of Representatives already has signed off on – a measure related to abortion and its public access.

Specifically, it deals with the fact that back when the Supreme Court of the United States issued its early 1970s ruling that struck down various state statutes that criminalized the termination of a pregnancy, the Illinois Legislature passed a law that included a clause saying that abortions would automatically become an illegal act in this state if the courts were to ever change their stance.

Now I know some legal experts have said the clause is so vaguely worded and convoluted in concept that it is highly unlikely to ever be implemented into state law.

But we’re in the Age of Trump where the conservative ideologues of our society think they’re entitled to push for measures that real people find despicable, and where Trump talks as though he’s inclined to grant them their wishes.

WHICH HAS SOME of the activists who fight for a woman’s legal right to end a pregnancy concerned that something could happen. And that motivated Democrats in the Illinois Legislature this year to push for a measure repealing the clause that supposedly reinstates abortion as a criminal act automatically without further government activity.

It got mixed into a bill that brings up other points – such as removing restrictions on Medicaid and state employee health insurance programs covering abortion. And in fact referring to abortion as just one of several options related to pregnancy-related care for a woman.

The Democratic majority that runs the General Assembly’s two chambers had little problem passing this measure, which now goes to the governor.

And where Rauner has made statements previously indicating that his veto pen is eagerly awaiting the chance to reject this measure.

THIS COMES ABOUT even though Rauner in the past has been a financial contributor to Planned Parenthood and other groups supporting women's issues, and generally has tried to avoid engaging in rhetoric about abortion that would infuriate people.

Rauner wants us to think he’s not an ideologue and that his conservative leanings don’t go farther than wanting to mess with organized labor and the unions that represent state government employees.

But now, Democrats are putting the Republican governor in a spot where he’s either going to have to support them or else risk their wrath come Election Day. Heck, this issue could be the one that infuriates certain voters to turn out and cast ballots against him come next year’s election cycle.

Then again, if he doesn’t take the conservative political stance and reject the issue, he could have many of the Republican interests deciding that his re-election isn’t worth their time or hassle.

IT WILL BE interesting to see just how low-key a manner Rauner handles this issue – hoping that his action somehow goes unnoticed. Perhaps he’ll get a day when there’s so much government activity taking place that this issue will get lost in the shuffle.

The last thing he’s going to want to do is to make a big deal about it. He stands to lose, no matter what.

He also has 60 days from the point in time the bill formally arrives in his office.

Which makes mid-to-late July to be the key point in time to watch the governor – even though I’m sure he’d rather you plan your vacation for that time period or find something else to preoccupy your time.


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