E-News: Breen Files "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act"

Strong majorities of Illinoisans, especially folks in the suburbs and downstate, oppose taxpayer funding of abortions, but with the signing of House Bill 40 at the end of September, Illinoisans will be put on the hook for an estimated 75% of the state’s 40,000 annual elective abortions, a cost of roughly $30 million. I wasn’t going to let that pass without responding, so I drafted legislation that would create the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” This new Act would prohibit units of government in Illinois from using taxpayer funds for elective abortions, reversing key provisions of HB 40. My bill is pending as HB 4114.

I modeled the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act after the federal “Hyde Amendment,” named after the late Henry Hyde, who served DuPage County in the U.S. Congress for decades. The Hyde Amendment prevents federal funding for abortions, other than for abortions sought in connection with pregnancies that result from rape or incest, or that threaten the life of the mother. Abortions under these circumstances constitute roughly 1% of all abortions.

While the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act reverses the substantive provisions of HB 40 and prevents taxpayer funding for abortion at all levels of government, it adds new public policy language on abortion, not including controversial 1975 “trigger language” about Roe v. Wade that was at issue in HB 40. That “trigger language” in HB 40 had no legal effect—and there’s no need to reopen a theoretical debate about abortion language from over 40 years ago. Instead, I wanted to start fresh with updated language and concepts that reflect the majority position of Illinoisans, especially folks in the suburbs and downstate, who care very deeply about this issue.

I will be pressing for full debate and a floor vote on HB 4114 during the upcoming fall veto session later this month, before HB 40 goes into effect in 2018.

Breen Chosen to Serve on PANDAS Advisory CouncilThis year I championed legislation that will provide insurance coverage for medically-advised treatments for Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Disorder and Syndrome Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS/PANS). That bill was signed into law over the summer. Because of my advocacy in that area, I have been appointed to serve on an advisory council that studies PANDAS/PANS and advises the Illinois Department of Public Health on research, diagnosis, treatment and education relating to the disorder and syndrome. I will be serving as part of a combined group of lawmakers, medical professionals and family members with children with PANDAS/PANS to increase public awareness and education of the condition. Since we have families right here in the 48th District who are coping with PANDAS/PANS on a daily basis, I look forward to our work and hope to shine a light of understanding on the impact and treatment of this condition.

As part of our work, the council will issue a report to the General Assembly each year that includes recommendations concerning:
  • Practice guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of the disorder
  • Mechanisms to increase clinical awareness and education among physicians, school-based health centers and providers of mental health services
  • Outreach to educators and parents
  • Development of a network of volunteer experts to assist in education and outreach
This photo was taken at this year’s PANDAS Dash 5K run/walk to support families with PANDAS/PANS. On the left is Kate Drury of Lombard, whose son, Charlie, developed PANDAS/PANS after a case of strep throat at the age of eight. Margie, Matthew, & I were honored to be able to participate in this great event!

Rep. Breen Meets with Small Business Advisory Council
Earlier this month it was a pleasure to speak at a breakfast meeting of the Western Suburbs Chapter of the Small Business Advisory Council about issues in Springfield and how the SBAC could be effective advocates on behalf of small business. We had a lively discussion about how Illinois is considered to be “business unfriendly,” and how I am working through my role as State Representative and House Republican Floor Leader to improve the business climate. Many members shared their concerns and ideas, and I appreciated their feedback and suggestions.

Lombard Senior Fair Draws Large Crowd
Each year I enjoy attending the Village of Lombard’s annual senior fair. I’m shown in this photo with Lombard Village President Keith Giagnorio and Senior of the Year recipients Anna Weselak and Dennis McNicholas. These two volunteers give a great deal of their time and talents in making sure the Lilac Village remains a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. Congratulations to them both!

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