On abortion: What McHenry County-area candidates for federal office have to say

Attendees pack the historic Woodstock Square for a rally for abortion rights on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Woodstock.

What do candidates in the McHenry County area running for election for federal office have to say about abortion?

Before Politico’s report of a draft opinion that suggested the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn the 1973 case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide, we asked all candidates running for U.S. Congress this question on abortion.

Should pregnant women have the right to get an abortion?

The Northwest Herald sought questionnaire responses from all candidates who filed to run in the June 28 primary election. Here are the candidates’ unedited written responses, before the Politico report.

U.S. House, 9th District:

We sent questionnaires to candidates running for the 9th Congressional District. We did not hear back from Jan Schakowsky, Democrat, or Bradley Martin, Republican.

U.S. House, 10th District:

We sent questionnaires to candidates running for the 10th Congressional District. We did not hear back from Brad Schneider, Democrat, or Joseph Severino, Republican.

U.S. House, 11th District:

Bill Foster, Democrat: “Yes. I believe that Roe v. Wade is and should remain a matter of settled law, and that women should decide what happens within their own bodies. It is a distressing commentary on the undemocratic nature and behavior of the U.S. Senate that Roe v. Wade is under serious threat, when polling shows that consistently since Roe v Wade was decided, less than 20 percent of Americans think abortion should be illegal across the board. This Congress, I was proud to co-sponsor and vote for the Women’s Health Protection Act, to put the right to an abortion in federal statute and prevent states from encroaching upon that right.”

Susan Hathaway-Altman, Republican: “No, every life (which begins at conception) should be allowed to live in the country, based on the U.S. Constitution. The exception to that is where it jeopardizes the mother’s life. I am a Constitutionalist, and I am also a mom (both of my own biological children, as well as an adopted child from a foster care program), and so I understand the emotional side of this. And I truly believe in adoption as well as in the right to life. Thousands of Americans try to adopt each year, and are either never able to, or wait years in order to receive one of these beautiful children into their homes. If you have agreed to the risks of getting pregnant, you should then agree to the miracle of having a baby, and you will still have the absolute best alternative to choose, which is to either keep it and reconsider (which many people do) or to put this wonderful life up for adoption and not only make a parent overjoyed, but also allow that life to achieve to greatness in this wonderful nation.”

Jerry Evans, Republican: “I am 100% pro-life. I believe life begins at conception. I oppose abortion except in cases of the life of the mother.”

Also running: Republicans Catalina Lauf, Cassandra Tanner Miller, Andrea Heeg and Mark Carroll.

U.S. House, 16th District:

Michael Rebresh, Republican: “Only in cases of rape, incest or critical to saving a mothers life from pregnancy complications”

Darin LaHood, Republican: “As a father of three boys and a practicing Catholic, I am proud to be pro-life and have a strong record in Congress of supporting pro-life policies. I oppose abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or a life-threatening impact to the mother.”

Also running: Republicans Walt Peters and JoAnne Guillemette.

After the news broke, LaHood also sent the following statement:

“The unprecedented leak of Justice Alito’s reported draft opinion is an attack on the independence of the Supreme Court – a separate and equal branch of our government. Leaders should be defending the Court, but President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and Governor Pritzker’s statements continue to play into the radical Left’s long-running campaign to intimidate federal judges and politicize the Supreme Court. These efforts to undermine the rule of law, judicial independence, and the Constitution must not be allowed to prevail.

“As a father of three and a staunch Pro-Life advocate, I believe that the Supreme Court should reconsider Roe and that states should be empowered to enact Pro-Life protections for the unborn. Democrats in Illinois and Congress continue to advocate for an extreme abortion agenda which includes late-term and taxpayer-funded abortion, restrictions on conscience protections, and limits on parental involvement.

“I remain committed to upholding the sanctity of Life and will continue to fight for the voiceless in Congress.”

U.S. Senate:

Matthew Dubiel, Republican: “They shut down the economy to ‘keep each other safe’ from a virus that has a 99.97% survival rate. They closed school, and then masked kids when school resumed. They canceled funerals and weddings. They closed churches. There were about 36,000 total covid deaths in Illinois during Covid, total. Meanwhile each year during covid, Illinois had 45,000+ abortions. Why aren’t we trying to keep everyone safe? Why are you calling it a ‘right’ to get an abortion? I want to protect life. Children need to be protected, no matter how old they are.”

Peggy Hubbard, Republican: “I am pro life, I will protect the unborn.”

Robert Piton, Republican: “The science is overwhelming. A baby inside a woman is a human life, not a ‘potential human life’. It is fueled by a woman, but it is its ‘own being’.

“I am in favor of more Sexual Education at “APPROPRIATE AGES”, not the pedophile indoctrination approach that the Radical Left is pursuing.

“I am also in favor of Family First Policies that restore Healthy Family Units.”

Also running: Republicans Casey Chlebek, Jimmy Lee Tillman II, Anthony W. Williams and Kathy Salvi and Democrat Tammy Duckworth.

Duckworth sent a statement to the media Tuesday regarding the draft opinion. She said:

“If this draft opinion becomes reality, a small group far-right Justices would be stripping away protected constitutional rights that millions of American families—including my own—have relied on for 50 years—and that 70% of Americans believe should be legal. The institution, and the Justices who claimed Roe was ‘settled law,’ will struggle to survive the stench of this decision.

“In a nation with a growing maternal mortality crisis and often inaccessible healthcare, without affordable childcare or universal paid leave, forcing births on millions of people—even when the mother’s life could be at risk—is particularly cruel. Before finalizing their decision in this case, I hope these Justices recognize that you cannot ban abortions, you can only criminalize safe abortions—and that their decision in this case could have far-reaching consequences on many, many other rights.

“I will keep working to convince my colleagues in the Senate that we must act to codify Roe v. Wade into law so that every American has equal access to basic, necessary healthcare—regardless of which state they live in, the color of their skin or the size of their income.”

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