Pro Choice? Why Illinois Legislative Races Matter

If you're pro-choice, chances are you're voting for President Obama, as Republican challenger Mitt Romney has a long track record of being in favor of restricting access to abortion. There will likely be vacancies on the Supreme Court during the next four years, and a President Romney would probably nominate a pro choice candidate for the court.

Reason enough, if keeping abortion legal is a litmus test for a voter, to vote for Obama.

But in recent years, the battle to limit access to abortion hasn't come from Washington, D.C., but from state legislatures. According to the Guttmacher Institute,

"Since the Supreme Court handed down its 1973 decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, states have constructed a lattice work of abortion law, codifying, regulating and limiting whether, when and under what circumstances a woman may obtain an abortion."

Relative to many other states, Illinois has fairly open access to abortion. Then again, Illinois has a Democratic legislature, so it's not entirely surprising that some of the draconian restrictions to abortion enacted in other states haven't found fertile ground in Springfield.

It's a reminder that our everyday lives are affected as much- if not more- by state politics as by what happens in D.C. We can probably all provide a pro/con list for Obama and Romney, but can we say the same for the person who's campaigning to represent us in Springfield?

Dennis Cauchon of USA TODAY writes about the fight for the control of state legislatures,

"Two years ago, Republicans won 700 extra seats nationwide and now have more state legislators than any time since 1928. The Republican tidal wave played a key role in conservative efforts to overhaul schools, limit union power, control spending and slow down the new federal health care law.

While the presidential race has captured most national attention this year, the battle to control state legislatures has been nearly as fierce. The state races have drawn more than $1 billion in campaign spending, boosted by a flood of money from national groups also active in the presidential and congressional campaigns."

If you haven't paid close attention to the state races, it's not too late. You've got a few hours left to educate yourself on positions and voting records, if applicable. These are the races that matter, in our wallets and in our freedoms.

Choose wisely.

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