8th District Democrats discuss federal abortion, LGBTQ protections
With a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade looming, the candidates in the 8th Congressional District's Democratic primary recently shared their views on possible legislative protections for abortion.
Incumbent Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg and challenger Junaid Ahmed of South Barrington addressed abortion rights, as well as laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination and other issues, during a candidates forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Elgin Area.
Ahmed said that even before Politico published a draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade, his position has been that the nation is failing its women.
"I think it's time for us to codify Roe," Ahmed said. "It is time for us to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. Why have we not authorized the Violence Against Women Act, not just their reproductive rights? They need full control over their bodies and their choices. It is a very simple question to me as a father of three girls."
Krishnamoorthi said his position on abortion rights is well documented.
"No member of Congress or the Supreme Court should stand between a woman and her health care provider," he said. "I'm proud of my 100% pro-choice record in Congress. That's why I'm the only candidate in this race that's been endorsed by Planned Parenthood. I voted multiple times to codify Roe into law, including through the Women's Health Protection Act."
As a vice chair of the LGBTQ caucus in Congress, Krishnamoorthi said he sees the possibility of Roe being overturned as a pathway to erode same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ rights.
"I believe that for too long, unfortunately, LGBTQ people have been treated as second-class citizens, and that can no longer happen," he said. "I have initiated legislation in my office to combat the bullying of LGBTQ people. Because this is something that happens at the youngest ages, and we have to combat it in the schools at the youngest ages."
Ahmed, like Krishnamoorthi a childhood immigrant from India, said the discrimination he experienced after 9/11 is enough to make him an enemy of any form of discrimination.
"It was tough," Ahmed said. "It was some tough days. I would not want anyone else to face that same discrimination, so I will be fighting for LGBTQ rights and to make sure that they do not face any discrimination -- not today, not tomorrow, never."
The Republican primary features Chris Dargis of Palatine, Karen Kolodziej of Itasca, Chad Koppie of Gilberts, Peter Kopsaftis of South Barrington, and Phillip Owen Wood of Carol Stream. The primary winners will face off in the Nov. 8 general election.
The 8th District includes all or parts of Addison, Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Carpentersville, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Elgin, Geneva, Gilberts, Glendale Heights, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Huntley, Itasca, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Pingree Grove, Rolling Meadows, Rosemont, Schaumburg, South Barrington, Sleepy Hollow, South Elgin, St. Charles, Streamwood, West Chicago and Wood Dale.