Op-ed from Bishop R. Daniel Conlon Regarding Illinois House Bill 40

bishop_conlonsm2I am fervently pro-life.  I believe, with no doubt, that a human person begins to exist from the moment of conception.  How can there be “tissue” one moment and a human being the next?  How can one woman claim to be carrying a baby and her neighbor, just a “thing”?

At the same time, I acknowledge that many people do not share my conviction.  To some extent this is because they approach the issue from a different perspective, for example, a woman’s right to control her body.  Thus, there is strong disagreement around a very sensitive issue.

Currently the Illinois legislature is considering a bill (House Bill 40) that would provide public funding for some people’s abortions.  Of course, I oppose the proposed legislation because I oppose abortion.  But there are very good arguments to oppose the legislation that ought to be considered by people who accept abortion or are ambivalent about it.

Argument #1 – Illinois has serious budget difficulties.  Should the State legislature approve funding for what is almost always elective surgery, when so many other needs, that serve a much more common good, go begging?

Argument #2 – It has been argued by some that paying for abortions for poor women will actually save the State money.  Future educational and welfare costs will be lower.  (In fact, some budget projections have allotted no funds for these abortions because of the presumed “wash”.)  It seems pretty cynical to suggest that we kill off citizens in order to save ourselves some money.  Besides, not everyone born in poverty stays there.

Argument #3 – Given the history of abortion, a disproportionate number of these publically funded abortions likely will be performed on Black and Latina women.  Without attributing a racist attitude to anyone, the State still runs the risk of appearing racist.

Argument #4 – Even if it is conceded that having an abortion is a right, how does that translate into a need for the State to pay for it?  Owning a gun is an undisputed constitutional right, but no one argues or even suggests that the State should pay for people’s guns.

I invite citizens to give serious consideration to House Bill 40 and to the arguments provided here.  It is a serious matter.  I encourage those who find themselves convinced that House Bill 40 is taking Illinois in the wrong direction to contact their own Senator or Representative and advocate for a “No” vote.

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