Illinois voters are tired. Tired of ugly campaign ads and bad economic news. Many won't even bother voting in the Governor's race. Why should we? There's a very good reason. Because Bill Brady's candidacy is a serious threat to personal liberty in the state of Ilinois.
In my 30 years in Illinois politics, I have never seen a nominee for Governor who is more anti-woman and more anti-family than Bill Brady. Bill Brady is not your garden-variety downstate conservative. He is an extreme right-wing candidate and an activist leader in the fight to make abortion illegal, even in the case of rape or incest. He aims to set back women's rights not just one generation, but several generations.
Where does Bill Brady stand on women's issues?
• Brady supports a law in Illinois to ban abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.
• Brady supports amending the U.S. Constitution to make abortion illegal with no exceptions.
• Brady supports a law allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions based on moral or religious objections, denying patients medicine for birth control, emergency contraception, HIV medications, anti-depressants for post-partum-depression, etc.
• Brady was one of only two legislators to vote against stopping "Drive-Thru Deliveries," when HMOs were throwing women out of hospitals, against their doctors' advice, less than 24 hours after delivering a baby.
• Brady was one of only four legislators to vote against the voluntary check-off on the Illinois income tax form for cervical and breast cancer research.
• Brady voted against requiring insurance companies to pay for prescription contraceptive drugs, even when these same companies cover male enhancement drugs.
• Brady has voted against Family Medical Leave, equal pay for equal work for women, and stem cell research.
Brady likes to talk about limited government and small government. Is outlawing abortion for a rape victim, or any woman, limited government intrusion? Is regulating our personal lives, limiting our access to birth control (or to any medication), and dictating under what circumstances we have children limited government? Not in my book, Senator Brady.
Is criminalizing the actions of the 50,000 women who seek an abortion in Illinois each year part of his secret economic plan? Think of the jails and courthouses that will have to be built to house them and their accomplices (i.e., friends and doctors). Think of the hospitals that will have to deal with women suffering from illegal abortions.
I wish I were exaggerating. Prior to Roe v. Wade, Cook County hospital had an entire ward devoted to "septic abortion patients," women who were brought to the hospital bleeding profusely, dying or dead from an illegal abortion. Now Bill Brady wants to can take us back to those horrible dark days.
How many years in prison does Bill Brady think a woman should be sentenced for having an illegal abortion? I think the voters of Illinois have a right to know the answer to this question. Will a woman who has been raped, gets pregnant and survives an illegal abortion get more years in prison than the man who raped her? Voters should know the answer to this question as well. I encourage the media to ask Brady these questions.
Bill Brady's position is diametrically opposed to that of Democratic nominee Pat Quinn. Quinn believes that abortion should be a private decision between a woman and her doctor, not politicians. He believes that pharmacists should be required to fill all prescriptions written by physicians, and that insurance companies must pay for mammograms, pap smears and prescription contraceptives. Quinn also believes that family medical leave and equal pay for equal work are vital to healthy families.
This is the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. This right was not graciously extended. Women, and a few men, planned and fought a national battle. They were arrested, jailed, beaten, forced fed in prisons, and some died. A relatively small group of people gave everything they had to make sure that every woman in the U.S. would some day be treated with dignity, respect and make choices about her future.
My grandmother was born without the right to vote, and my mother was born when birth control was illegal. My sister was born without the right to legal abortion, and now my niece, born well after 1973, stands to lose much of what has been gained since 1920. For the sake of my niece, our daughters, granddaughters, friends and a civil society, we have to do everything we can to make certain we don't go back to those horrible and dark days of yesterday.