Many Illinoisans aren’t that aware of the positions of most of the Republicans competing in the June 28 primary to unseat Gov. JB Pritzker in November’s general election. There seem to be few public appearances, much less press conferences, and the elephant in the room may be where each stands on abortion.
Here are facts:
Six GOP candidates for governor will be on this month’s ballot (two others were removed), the Illinois State Board of Elections said at press time. In alphabetical order, they are:
Darren Bailey of Xenia, Richard C. Irvin of Aurora, Gary Rabine of Bull Valley, Paul Schimpf of Waterloo, Max Solomon of Hazel Crest, and Jesse Sullivan of Petersburg.
There’s virtual unanimity about corruption, crime, education, gun control, state pensions, and taxes, plus opposition to Pritzker, especially his response to the pandemic and his approach to budgeting. A rare public forum in Washington on April 25 featured all of them except Irvin. (Watch WEEK-TV’s video of the event on its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&v=5202692536460317).
Meanwhile, a leaked draft by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito indicates that the court could overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, and leave its legality up to state lawmakers.
Former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar in May told Politico’s Shia Kapos, “Abortion is going to suffocate every other issue. It will be hard for candidates to talk about anything else.”
Edgar said Republicans then embraced the Roe decision when it passed. (Another fact: Republican Justices Harry Blackmun, Warren Burger and Potter Stewart agreed with Democrats William Douglas, William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall and Lewis Powell in the 7-2 vote, with Democrat Byron White and Republican William Rehnquist in opposition.)
Edgar added that it wasn’t until the Christian Right stressed the issue that the GOP turned from abortion rights, at least publicly.
Most people have supported Roe v. Wade for years. This month, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found majorities of Americans still support upholding Roe, say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and that abortion should be a decision made by a woman and her doctors — not lawmakers.
(Fact: In Illinois, 56% think abortions should be legal in all/most cases, 41% think it should be illegal in all/most cases, and 3% aren’t sure.)
“One of the good things Roe v. Wade did was take [abortion] off the front burner,” Edgar told Politico. “Now, it’s the whole burner. It’s going to change the political landscape and what people talk about and what people worry about.”
Even if the Supreme Court overturns Roe, Illinois state law protects women’s choice to terminate their pregnancies (along with California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont and other states).
However, Bailey and Sullivan have said they’d try to end Illinois’ laws on abortion; Irvin has said he’s “pro-life,” but concedes exceptions could be made for incest, the health of the mother and rape, and he wants to reinstate parental notifications for abortions; Rabin has said he is “unapologetically pro-life;” Schimpf when he was a state senator opposed the Reproductive Health Act (signed by Pritzker in 2019) and the measure permitting state-funded Medicaid coverage for abortion (signed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2017); and Solomon’s website had said Solomon’s opposed to “all bureaucratic mechanisms that remove parental consent and notification for our daughters under 17 and the expansion of abortion access with taxpayer funding.”
Bailey is a state representative, Irvin is mayor of Aurora, Rabine is a businessman, Schimpf is a former state senator, Solomon is a lawyer and ordained Christian minister, Jesse Sullivan is an entrepreneur.
For more information, voters can turn to the nonpartisan, nonprofit Ballotpedia.org, or to candidates’ websites (which, of course, present just part of their story, but it’s at least a part and a start):
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May 31, 2022 at 10:17PM