Jeanne Ives

By John Ruberry

At my own blog and here at Da Tech Guy, I enthusiastically backed the candidacy of Bruce Rauner, the current Republican governor of Illinois.

Count me as an ex-supporter. I’ll be voting for state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) in next spring’s primary.

Rauner was a political newcomer when he narrowly defeated unpopular incumbent governor Pat Quinn three years ago. He became the first gubernatorial candidate in the Land of Lincoln to win a majority of the vote–albeit a very small one–since Rod Blagojevich’s first victory in 2002.

Rauner’s campaign slogans were “Bring Back Illinois” and “Shake Up Springfield.” He hasn’t done either which is why, in its upcoming cover story, National Review is calling Rauner “the worst Republican governor in America.”

After Quinn’s own narrow win in 2010, he and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), by far the most powerful politician in Illinois,  ramrodded through the General Assembly what was called a temporary income tax increase, which would expire shortly after the 2014 gubernatorial election. At that point, after Quinn’s presumed next win, the tax increase would be voted on again and made permanent.

But fed-up Prairie State voters, most of whom are corralled into gerrymandered legislative districts created by Madigan, who is also the chairman of the state Democratic Party, have no other way to fight back except at the top of the ticket every four years. They chose Rauner to stop the bleeding.

In his previous career Rauner was a venture capitalist. When he took over a company he could fire the CEO. He can’t do that with Madigan. So what followed was a game of chicken. Rauner, as part of his Turnaround Agenda, supported such common sense reforms as term limits for legislators, later changed to term limits for legislative leaders, which was clearly aimed at Madigan, who has been speaker of the House for an unprecedented 32 of the last 34 years. It’s Madigan who Reuters calls “the man behind the fiscal fiasco in Illinois.”

Other Turnaround Agenda items included tort and pension reform–Illinois has one of the worst-funded public pension systems in America–a ban on public sector unions contributing to state political campaigns, an option for local governments to enact right-to-work laws, as well as a two year property tax freeze.

Rauner said he was not averse to an income tax increase–but in exchange for his support of a tax hike he wanted his Agenda Turnaround agenda passed.

For thirty months the game of chicken continued, and that included an unprecedented two years without a budget. Illinois’ pile of unpaid bills tripled, reaching a level of over $16 billion. In the end Boss Madigan won. Overriding Rauner’s veto and some Republican legislative defections–who provided cover for Democrats in unsafe seats to vote “No,” Madigan’s 32 percent income tax hike became law.

Rauner and the GOP didn’t see a single part of the Turnaround Agenda included in that tax hike. Its passage was a colossal failure for the Republicans and long-suffering Illinois taxpayers.

And Rauner has been a colossal failure too. Yet he’s still running for reelection. In his video announcement Rauner dons a leather jacket and rides a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which is ironic as southeastern Wisconsin, which is where Harley-Davidson is based, has been a direct beneficiary of Illinois’ decline.

The failures of Rauner don’t end with Madigan winning the tax increase war. Breaking a promise he made Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, Rauner, who is pro-choice, signed into law a bill that keeps abortion legal in the state even if the US Supreme Court overturns the Roe vs. Wade decision. The bill also allows Medicaid funding of abortion as well as funding of abortions for state employees. And Rauner also signed into law a bill, weeks before California did, making Illinois a sanctuary state.

Ives, who is Rauner’s only declared Republican opponent, voted against both bills when they were up for vote in the House.

Last week the governor drove home the gist of his own failures when he said of Illinois, “I’m not in charge.” Who is? Madigan, because he has “rigged the system,” Rauner says. Is that true? Probably. But Rauner has had three years to unrig it. That’s why voters hired him.

What expectation do we have that Rauner can unrig it in a second term?

In her campaigns announcement Ives said that she wants to “realign public sector salaries and benefits to be commensurate with their private sector counterparts who finance it all.” Specifically she favors 401(k) plans for new state hires. Ives, a West Point graduate and a mother of five, also backs property tax reform and in an acknowledgement to one of President Trump’s campaign themes, vows to fight for the “forgotten people in Illinois” Of which there are plenty, including me.

In that campaign introduction Ives refers to the governor as “Benedict Rauner.” While I don’t view Rauner as purposely traitorous to the voters who supported him, he has been a spectacular disappointment as governor. I apologize to anybody who took my advice and voted for him.

Rauner says he is “not in charge” of Illinois yet he still wants four additional years of not being in charge. Who in their right mind can get behind that? Rauner says “it’s time to finish the job.” But he hasn’t even started it yet. Imagine Rauner as a homebuilder and three years after hiring him all that he has to show for his efforts is an unkempt pile of bricks paid for with money borrowed from you.

That’s Illinois, which leads the nation in negative net-migration. Its bond rating is the lowest ever for a state.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

A 17-year old with no visible means of financial support got an abortion this morning.

Not news, you say? Look again.

“Jane Doe” is an immigrant, an unaccompanied 17-year-old, living in the U.S. without benefit of documentation. When Jane Doe learned she was pregnant, she sought an abortion in Texas, where she is living. Disputes broke out, state and federal courts weighed in, and somewhere along the way Jane Doe was assigned a guardian to protect her interests.

The guardian enlisted the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, which jubilantly reported today that the abortion has been committed. “Justice prevailed today for Jane Doe,” went the ACLU tweet, one among many celebrating the death of a child’s child. #JusticeforJane, says the hashtag.

I suspect Jane Doe’s anonymity will dissolve when she turns 18, if not earlier, as she becomes a poster child for abortion advocates. Killing her child was worth a legal battle, to some people – more so than trying to regularize her residency status, apparently.

That’s a hellish way to become a celebrity. Whatever her immigration status, she deserves better than that.

Our country deserves better than to be thought of as an abortion haven, too.

I assume that as an immigrant without documentation, whose home is a U.S. detention center, she didn’t have money. Who paid to have her child killed? Was it you and me?

Human dignity lost today – the mother’s, the dead child’s, the abortionist’s, the abortion apologists’.

There’s surely a great deal about this 17-year-old that I don’t know. Why did she leave her homeland? Was she sent by her family, or did she decide on her own to cross the border? Was she pregnant when she got here? Did she become pregnant due to assault, and if so, is there as intense an effort to apprehend the perpetrator as there was to abort her child?

Whatever the answers, great things may yet lie ahead for her; better days, better choices.

Today isn’t a good day for her, no matter what her enablers are saying. Her child is dead, and abortion apologists are dancing on the remains. God have mercy on us all.

Alexandra DeSanctis said it better than I. “This is perhaps the most despicable thing about this entire ordeal — that justice in our modern world demands the blood of an innocent child. We have reached the point in the abortion debate where it is not only socially acceptable to crusade for the intentional killing of one specific unborn child, but where we are expected to applaud when that execution is carried out. How utterly shameful.”

Ellen Kolb is a writer and pro-life activist living in New Hampshire. She blogs at ellenkolb.com and Leaven for the Loaf, and she welcomes reader support.

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Four years ago today, a jury was deliberating the fate of Kermit Gosnell. That trial ended with Gosnell serving life in prison for murder and manslaughter.

Today, a GOP-majority Congress, with a GOP president looking on, can’t agree on when or how to prevent taxpayer funds from going to abortion providers.

What does the spine-snipping abortionist have to do with abortion funding? Only this: a member of Congress who remembers Gosnell’s crimes with disgust is unlikely to support sending tax dollars to an abortion industry that fights regulation.  Conversely, a member of Congress who supports tax funding of abortion providers, or who is indifferent to that funding, is someone who has forgotten or ignored the crimes of Kermit Gosnell and his many enablers.

While the Gosnell trial was going on in Pennsylvania, abortion-related legislation was being considered in my own state. I remember a representative of NARAL dismissing Gosnell as an “outlier.” There was no need to tighten up  abortion regulation, said the lobbyist, since there were no Gosnells in our fair state (she said). Representatives of local abortion providers echoed the “outlier” line.

To this day, my state has no limit on when abortions may be performed or who may perform them. There’s no law requiring treatment of infants who survive attempted abortion. There’s no requirement for abortion facilities to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical facilities. There’s no collection of abortion statistics, including statistics on maternal morbidity and mortality, and therefore no way to spot an abortion provider who injures women the way Gosnell did.

Every attempt to pass laws to prevent future Gosnells has been resisted by lobbyists for the abortion industry. And still, there are elected officials belonging to a nominally pro-life party who can’t quite figure out how to keep that industry from picking my pocket. I don’t let state officials off the hook, either; they’re the ones who award state contracts to abortion providers.

I hear the nervous whispers from officeholders who buy the 3% lie: but these agencies do so much good…

Spare me. An agency that lobbies against laws to protect women’s health and safeguard children who survive attempted abortion is not “doing good.”

I understand the nature of budgets and the need for consensus and prudence. This anniversary, though, this reminder of Gosnell, renders me impatient to see an end to public funding of abortion providers.

(While I’m mentioning Gosnell, allow me to recommend the recent book Gosnell: the Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer by Ann McElhinney & Phelim McAleer. It’s not just about Kermit Gosnell. The authors make sure that the people who helped bring him to justice get their due.)

Ellen Kolb writes at EllenKolb.com and blogs about life issues in New Hampshire at Leaven for the Loaf.
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Abortion’s legal. So is declining to put it on the public dime. That’s been the uneasy truce for many years between abortion providers (and promoters) and American taxpayers. Uneasy, and shaky: even since 1976 with the Hyde Amendment, children conceived through violence have always been at risk of abortion at public expense.

This week,  the U.S. House has taken a step toward making the Hyde Amendment permanent, and President Trump has reinstated the Mexico City policy. The Hyde Amendment refers to abortion-funding limitations in the domestic Health and Human Services budget, which must be renewed each budget cycle. The Mexico City policy (named for the location of the 1984 U.N. conference where the policy was first adopted) prevents U.S. money sent to the United Nations Population Fund from being used for abortion activity, as distinct from family planning.

The Mexico City policy has been in effect under every Republican president since Reagan. It was revoked by Democrats Clinton and Obama. For a generation, it has been an indicator of one of the differences between the two major parties: Democrats want public money to be available for abortion in all circumstances. Republicans don’t.

There are resisters to the Hyde and Mexico City provisions, of course, who have dusted off the moniker “global gag rule” to describe the Mexico City policy . Let the hashtagging begin. You’re not only trying to keep people from doing abortions, but even talking to women about abortion, say the hashtaggers. No, we’re just trying to keep the hands of abortion providers out of the pockets of people who recognize that abortion terminates human life.

A woman is free to choose abortion. Are you and I free to refuse to pay for it? The opponents of Hyde and Mexico City say no. They defend choice for the abortion-minded woman, but not for the pro-life taxpayer.

The “gag rule” argument is one of two used by coerced-funding fans. The other is the claim that abortion is health care and must be treated as such. Both arguments get more traction every time a politician parrots them without dispute.

Attorney Cathleen Cleaver, speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2001, noted that any “gag” on abortion providers under the Mexico City policy is self-imposed.

…the policy forces nothing: Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) may choose to apply for U.S. tax funds, and to be eligible, they must refrain from abortion activity. On the other hand, NGOs may choose to do abortions or to lobby foreign nations to change their laws which restrict abortion, and if they choose that path they render themselves ineligible for U.S. money. As we saw the last time the policy was in place [under President Reagan], only two out of hundreds of organizations elected to forfeit the U.S. money for which they were otherwise eligible. But it was and will be entirely their choice.

Hyde has been a legislative action. Mexico City has been an executive action. The judiciary weighed in on this a long time ago, coming down on the side of people who choose not to fund abortion, upholding the Hyde Amendment in Harris v. McRae (1980). Yet public funding of abortion activity is still an open question: Hyde must be proposed anew every two years, use of the Mexico City policy depends on the personal preferences of a president, and what today’s Supreme Court might do if faced with a funding case is anyone’s guess.

This week’s actions by President Trump and the House are most welcome. They may prove to be only passing victories, though, unless the people who want nothing to do with the abortion industry become as noisy and persistent as the people determined to fund the industry publicly.

By the way, I heard Cecile Richards crowing after the election that the advent of Trump has led to a huge increase in donations to Planned Parenthood. How many of those donations were designated for political use rather than clinical care? How much public funding could be offset by these donations, if Planned Parenthood so chose? Are we going to see those figures anytime during this year’s funding debate?

Not long after Roe v. Wade federalized abortion policy, Members of Congress led by Henry Hyde moved to prevent federal funds from being used for abortions. The Hyde Amendment was finally added to the Medicaid program as a rider to the Health and Human Services budget on September 30, 1976. The rider has been added in every federal budget cycle since then. The Hyde Amendment restricts – but does not altogether prevent – federal taxpayer funding of abortion.

Abortion providers have tried to torpedo the Hyde Amendment since the day it was proposed. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is a determined foe of Hyde. Slate quotes her as saying that it “mak[es] it harder for low-income women to exercise their full rights.” Clinton and candidates in step with her are prepared to coerce all taxpayers into subsidizing abortion.

Donald Trump is reportedly willing to support the Hyde Amendment, according to Marjorie Dannenfelser, chairwoman of Trump’s pro-life coalition. “Not only has Mr. Trump doubled down on his three existing commitments to the pro-life movement, he has gone a step further in pledging to protect the Hyde Amendment and the conscience rights of millions of pro-life taxpayers.”

Absent a presidential veto, it’s the Members of Congress who determine whether the Hyde Amendment goes into the budget. A presidential candidate’s coattails will have something to do with the makeup of Congress, though, so the views of the presidential candidates matter.

As the Hyde Amendment turns 40, and acting independently of any campaign or party, a diverse group of pro-life Americans led by Secular Pro-Life has launched the #HelloHyde campaign. #HelloHyde not only marks the anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, but also celebrates the lives of children born under Medicaid since the amendment was first used. The #HelloHyde campaigners want the Hyde Amendment to be not only protected but broadened.

More power to them. From the campaign’s web site:

Medicaid should cover birth, not death….

The Hyde Amendment’s life-saving impact is hard to overstate. Both supporters and opponents agree that the Hyde Amendment has prevented over a million abortions. The disagreement, sad to say, is over whether that’s a good thing.

#HelloHyde estimates that of the people born through the Medicaid program since the Hyde Amendment was enacted (“Medicaid kids”), 1 in 9 would have died in the absence of Hyde Amendment protection. That estimate comes from a recently released report by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, which found that the Hyde Amendment has saved 2.13 million lives.

The #HelloHyde web site includes photos of  some of the Medicaid kids. I hope opponents of the Hyde Amendment see those photos, which might provoke some thought about which of those kids ought to have been killed at public expense.