IL democrats introduced a bill that would keep abortions legal in the state if Roe versus Wade gets overturned.
The issue has become a political flashpoint in the 2018 gubernatorial race, in which Rauner already faces six Democratic opponents, three of whom joined Tuesday's rally in support of the Women March's agenda.
A Democratic lawmaker pushing legislation to remove prohibitions on publicly funded abortions in IL hopes to call it for a vote as thousands of women converge on the capital to lobby for a "progressive agenda".
Democrats couched the debate as a vote over 'women's health.
In a statement issued on April 19, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago praised Gov. Rauner for his promise to veto the abortion funding bill.
"Today is a victory for every woman in our state because it protects every woman's right to choose", Feigenholtz said Tuesday in a release.
She said IL funded unrestricted abortions through Medicaid in the late 1970s, and taxpayers paid $1.8 million for about 12,738 abortions at the time - so "12,000 abortions per year isn't an exaggeration".
But Republicans claimed the Legislature lacks necessary public support to use taxpayer dollars in funding the controversial procedure, particularly amid the state's two-year-long budget crisis.
"I don't really understand how we can say we do care about the most vulnerable among us when we have limited funds and we'll be spending money for something that not only is opposed by many of us but is considered to be an abomination", said state Representative Terri Bryant, a Republican from southern IL. "Today, we stated unequivocally that access to safe legal abortion will remain protected in IL".
As a candidate, Rauner said in 2014 that he would back efforts to change state law against taxpayer-funded abortion because it "unfairly restricts access based on income".
Senate President John Cullerton expects the bill to pass his chamber - with enough votes to override the veto the governor said he would make.
Aside from Cardinal Cupich, pro-life groups also applauded Gov. Rauner's promise to veto the abortion bill.