Illinois GOP Still Playing Games with Pro-Life, Abortion Vote

Illinois GOP Still Playing Games with Pro-Life, Abortion Vote

Chicago, Illinois, January 23, 2013 -  For forty years, the Illinois GOP establishment has been talking out of both sides of their mouths on the abortion issue.  Some call it “politics as usual.” But for the pro-life activists dedicated to this cause, abortion isn’t a game; its life and death.

Many Republicans game the abortion issue without consequence because few are under media scrutiny; but what that spotlight would reveal if they were.

A recent pro-life rally to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade is the latest example.

Among the speakers was Joe Scheidler, national director of the Pro-Life Action League, who has devoted his life to the cause. Leaders of Catholic and other pro-family organizations like Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life and Illinois Right to Life joined him. They gathered at Holy Name Cathedral. Some gave speeches. Others said prayers. The media quickly got their sound bites and left.

Many of those who were present vote Republican candidates because of the party’s platform on abortion and the sanctity of life.

Dan Proft, a former 2010 GOP candidate for Governor and co-host on WLS, was also a speaker at Sunday’s pro-life event. Yet Proft has a history of supporting pro-abortion candidates.

In 2008, he helped Rep. Beth Coulson (R-Glenview) win re-election. David Smith of the Illinois Family Institute said he spoke with Proft about Coulson.

“As for working on the Beth Coulson campaign, Dan and I have talked about it, and he has assured me that he wouldn’t work again on a RINO’s campaign,” said Smith in an email.

6a00d834515c5469e2017d3c4a8cd9970cBut soon after that pledge, beginning in October 2012, Proft began funneling more than $80,000 through Liberty Principles PAC to help State Senate candidate Arie Friedman, a supporter of abortion rights. Friedman, a pediatrician, had made his pro-abortion views widely known in a controversial mailer that shocked Illinois conservatives in September 2012.

“Clearly Friedman is proud of his [pro-abortion] position. Unfortunately, many Republicans will be offended and angry,” said Laurie Higgins of Illinois Family Action, a sister organization to Illinois Family Institute.

Proft has been questioned about his ethics – or lack thereof - before. He has received lucrative contracts from embattled Cicero president Larry Dominick and the criminally-connected Pesek brothers. Proft’s associates continue to collect contracts through Dominick and Pesek.

The pro-life vote is important in GOP primary elections – so Proft speaks from both sides of his mouth. Despite his meager showing in 2010 with 7.7% of the vote, he is planning a second gubernatorial bid.

But Proft was not alone in his attempts to help Friedman.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno donated $5,000 to Friedman’s candidacy on October 31.

Bruce Rauner, a top advisor to Rahm Emanuel and another GOP contender for Illinois governor, gave $5,000 to Friedman on October 22. Rauner’s firm’s purchase of SecurityLink from SBC Ameritech was one of the first big deals Emanuel put together after his sudden conversion to investment banker in the 1990s (he previously had no experience) and it made him a millionaire.

Republican Renaissance PAC gave $5,000 to Friedman on October 25.

Free Market State PAC – seeded by heavy donations from Bruce Rauner and Jack Roeser – gave $20,000 to Friedman on October 25.

Other Illinois Republicans that claim the conservative mantel also contributed to Friedman despite his pro-abortion stance.

Ironically, Friedman also received $7,500 from Neil and Leslie Bluhm on October 22. Bluhm, the head of Walton Street Capital, is a top campaign bundler for President Obama and the Illinois Finance Chairman for his campaign.

The Bluhm family are also major contributors to the Personal PAC, a pro-abortion rights group, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Republicans Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego), Judy Baar Topinka, and Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont).

Politics may make strange bedfellows but this isn’t about politics for the pro-life movement. This is about 55 million abortions.

Why do Republicans give lip service to pro-life and then work to elect candidates that support abortion rights?

Money. Money is always the reason.

And access and power.

The GOP leadership – especially in Illinois – has always directed donors away from conservative pro-family candidates. Socially liberal candidates are supported and fast-tracked. Conservative candidates are attacked and undermined by party leaders. That’s why some Republicans flocked to Friedman even after the political firestorm about his views on abortion and claims that he misrepresented his position. Being an insider – not an outsider – is key to easy political advancement and that is why some Republicans talk from both sides of their mouths, thinking they can misdirect pro-life votes.

It comes from a fundamental disrespect for the pro-family vote; one cynical enough to think the vote can be manipulated.

But with the ObamaCare mandates kicking in, the abortion issue has come to the forefront once again. Religious voters are becoming a powerful force as worries mount that regulations will force religious institutions to pay for coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization regardless of the employers’ moral or religious objections.

Last October, Pat and Virginia McCaskey, devout Catholics and owners of the Chicago Bears, hosted a summit to discuss the threat the HHS mandates represent and their impact on religious liberties. In March, June, and October, thousands skipped lunch to join nationwide rallies dubbed, “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” to protest the mandates.

This new political environment is a dangerous one for GOP candidates who talk from both sides of their mouths.

It’s only a matter of time before pro-life voters in Illinois wise-up.

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 For more information on pro-life positions, visit these organizations:

 Pro-Life Action League

Reclaiming Religious Liberty

Ambassadors of Mary

Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life

Families in Christ Jesus

Focolare Movement

Illinois Right to Life

Lake CountyRight to Life

Illinois Family Action

Missionaries of the Holy Innocents

NeoCatechumenal Way

Schoenstatt

Students for Life Illinois

Ave Maria Foundation

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