Pritzker, GOP candidates take opposite stances on Roe, signaling fall election throwdown
Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Republican candidates for governor quickly took sides in the debate Tuesday over whether the U.S. Supreme Court will and should overturn the Roe v. Wade case on abortion -- foreshadowing a fall election showdown.
The reaction came after a draft document was leaked, signaling that the conservative majority on the court will reverse the landmark decision legalizing abortion.
"No matter what atrocious opinion the Supreme Court rolls out this summer ... abortion is safe and legal in Illinois," Pritzker said at a news conference.
"The decision to overturn Roe v. Wade does not mean that abortions will stop happening. It just means in that in half of the states where their governors and legislatures have declared war on reproductive rights, women will be forced into dangerous and deadly situations. Those who are poor, who are Black or brown will bear the highest cost."
The governor, who faces reelection Nov. 8, warned, "If you think the Republican politicians who have engineered the court reversal of Roe v. Wade are going to stop here, let me tell you otherwise. This is just the beginning."
"Illinois is a beacon of hope in an increasingly dark world," he added. "And we will fight like hell not just for the women of Illinois but for every person in our state and every person across the nation who believes not in limiting civil rights and human rights but in expanding them. That is freedom."
A number of Republican gubernatorial candidates running in the June 28 primary hailed the draft decision.
Xenia state Sen. Darren Bailey, a conservative, anti-abortion Republican, said that as governor he wanted to restore parental notification and end "taxpayer-funded abortion."
"If we all come together as Illinoisans, if the church rises up to its proper position, we can make abortion unnecessary," Bailey said at a rally in Chicago, citing adoptions as a solution.
Other GOP governor hopefuls include Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, McHenry County businessman Gary Rabine, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Waterloo, Max Solomon of Hazel Crest and venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan from rural Petersburg.
Sullivan issued a statement saying that "while the decision isn't official -- and could yet be months away -- I'm overjoyed at what could be a generational change in the soul of our country. Prayer works, and my prayer tonight is gratitude."
Rabine also issued a statement. "I am unapologetically pro-life, and I welcome the court's reversal of this long-standing precedent," he said. "We must, as a state and a country, do all we can to protect the rights of the unborn."
Irvin, who says he opposes abortion but would support exceptions in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother, did not have a comment Tuesday.
Solomon said in a tweet that "the leak is unfortunate and an attempt to intimidate (the Supreme Court), but I don't think this court can be intimidated. Looking forward to the end of Roe v. Wade."
The lone woman in the gubernatorial race, Democrat Beverly Miles of Chicago, said: "I believe in the right to choose. A female of age should also maintain the right to choose what is in the best interest of her body, her lifestyle, and financial means. I believe the Supreme Court should keep this legislation intact and give safe access to abortion throughout all 50 states."
Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, cautioned that abortion restrictions "only make the procedure dangerously unsafe, and in some cases prohibitively expensive for low-income Americans. Women's lives are literally at stake."