In 6th District race, Democrat Sean Casten and Republican Keith Pekau split on abortion rights

Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove, left, and Orland Park Republican Keith Pekau are candidates for the 6th Congressional District seat.

As states across the country move to limit abortions, the candidates for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District seat stand with their respective political parties on reproductive rights.

Incumbent Democrat Sean Casten of Downers Grove has been outspoken in his support of a woman’s right to end a pregnancy. Republican challenger Keith Pekau of Orland Park opposes abortion.

Casten is seeking a third term in Congress representing the newly redrawn 6th District. Pekau, mayor of Orland Park, is making his first bid for federal office.

Abortion is just one of the issues dividing the two candidates.

Although it once was considered a decided issue, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling rekindled the legislative fight over abortion. In response, Casten said he would continue defending “every woman’s right to make health care decisions against radical, anti-choice politicians.”

Casten’s campaign website details his support of abortion rights and women’s rights in general, including his support of bills seeking to protect the right to abortion care and repeal a ban on U.S. foreign aid being used for abortion services.

Pekau hasn’t answered Daily Herald questions about abortion and other issues, and his campaign website makes no mention of his stance on reproductive rights.

But during a virtual Republican candidates forum hosted by League of Women Voters groups in May, before the Supreme Court’s controversial decision, Pekau declared he is “pro life.” Aside from noting he was adopted, he didn’t elaborate.

In the same forum, Pekau said the issue should be decided by “the states and the courts.”

Pekau’s position is the target of a 30-second digital ad the Casten campaign released last week. Pekau criticized the ad in a subsequent news release, saying it misrepresented his views – but it didn’t say how or which views.

The 6th District includes much of the west and southwest suburbs in Cook and DuPage counties.

Election Day is Nov. 8.