Tuesday, September 26, 2017

On abortion, Rauner will be damned if he does, or even if he doesn’t

Gov. Bruce Rauner officially received a bill on Monday that I’m sure he wishes could just wither away – a measure related to an issue that tends to piss people off no matter what is said or done.
An ad abortion rights-types will soon send us

The issue being the termination of pregnancy and who, if anyone, has a right to make such a decision.

RAUNER IS GOING to have to put himself firmly on the record on this issue, and he’s going to have the entirety of Illinois’ electorate watching his every move.

If he just goes ahead and signs into law the bill approved by the Illinois General Assembly this spring, he’s going to get many of the social conservatives all riled up – in that they’re the kind of people who long for a past era when abortion could be considered a criminal act.

But if he uses his veto power to kill the measure, he’ll get a large share of Illinoisans outraged – largely the kind of people whom Rauner is hoping don’t take his defeat in the upcoming 2018 election cycle as some sort of crusade to be achieved by turning out to vote in strong numbers.

This particular bill was one approved by an urban Democratic majority in both chambers of the state Legislature of people concerned about social trends in our society that might try to push for a time when abortion would no longer be a constitutionally-protected idea as it has been since 1973.

BACK IN THE 1970s when that happened, Illinois government officials approved measures meant to bring Illinois law into compliance, while adding clauses meant to imply that if the Supreme Court ever changed its mind, state law would automatically revert back to its old status.

Some legal experts argued that such language was actually too vague to be taken seriously. But those people who strongly back the notion of abortion being a legal medical procedure didn’t want to take any chances.
Should Catholic Vote message include an "(or else!)"

They pushed for changes to be included in measures meant to clarify when public funds in the form of Medicaid can be used to cover the cost of a woman’s terminating a pregnancy.

That is the measure Rauner now has to decide upon. Backers in the General Assembly tried delaying the legislative process until Monday, hoping they could avoid sending him the bill until they could work out an agreement he would sign it.

BUT NOW, IT seems Rauner is going to be put on the spot – and he has hinted that a veto is a possibility.

But if he does that, it will outrage one segment of our society. Signing it, however, will also arouse the ire of those individuals who think they have a right to meddle in whether a woman terminates her own pregnancy.

The Catholic Vote group is calling the bill “electoral suicide,” while some conservative activists are saying this bill is an “integrity test” for Rauner. They say he will have broken their promises to him, and they just might have to vote against his dreams for re-election.

But the more urban segment of the state could wind up turning on him if he makes those individuals happy. A new poll by the Normington, Petts & Associates group that has 66 percent saying Chicago is on the “wrong” track also says more people blame Rauner (only a 19 percent “favorable” rating) for that moreso than any other government official.

THIS COULD BECOME merely another reason for people to be upset enough with Rauner’s gubernatorial term to want to vote for whichever Democrat manages to win the primary next March.

Now aside from the Capitol Fax newsletter in Springfield confirming that Rauner received the bill on Monday, I don’t know how quickly he’ll want to act. This may be a measure he’ll wait for as long as he can (60 days) before doing something.

It may even become a moment that makes him ponder why he was ever foolish enough to want to be governor. Oh, the headaches!

Why do I fear this will come up late in the day some Friday afternoon, or maybe in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Hoping we’ll be too pre-occupied with our family food fests to want to complain publicly.


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