Pritzker focuses on abortion rights, Trussell on crime in dueling campaign stops
Diverging messages about abortion rights and violent crime played out Tuesday in campaign stops by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Republican nominee for lieutenant governor Stephanie Trussell.
In downtown Chicago, Pritzker was flanked by Illinois Planned Parenthood leaders and their counterparts from Missouri, who described an urgent need for funding and legal protection for doctors and patients.
"I believe to my core that reproductive rights are human rights and the Supreme Court's extreme decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was a shameful abrogation of those rights," Pritzker said.
The Chicago Democrat has worked to expand abortion access in Illinois to serve women in nearby states where restrictions are being imposed.
"This could all be taken away if we don't elect a pro-choice legislature and pro-choice governor," Pritzker said.
He warned his opponent, state Sen. Darren Bailey, "does not even allow abortion in cases of rape or incest. Darren Bailey's dangerous politics are a threat to women and girls everywhere."
Meanwhile, in an empty lot in West Garfield Park, Trussell, who now lives in Lisle, revisited the Chicago neighborhood where she grew up.
She described a community with "locally owned businesses owned by people who lived here, went to church with us and whose kids went to school with us. Our streets were clean, and we took pride in where we lived.
"I never had to leave my community to go shopping," Trussell added, reminiscing about long-gone restaurants, drugstores, hair salons, dance clubs and a skating rink.
But that's "the museum of yesterday. Today in addition to abandoned buildings and trash on our streets, the crime is out of control," she said.
"J.B. Pritzker and his pals are failing neighborhoods like this," said Trussell, a former radio talk show host.
On abortion rights, Trussell, who aligns with Bailey on the issue, said, "This is not the issue that most people are concerned about. I'm trying to focus on making Illinois a place where regular, everyday people feel safe and bring more of their paychecks home."
Trussell was asked about her running mate's controversial description of Chicago as a "hellhole."
"I agree that Chicago has issues," Trussell said. "We're suffering, the conditions are hellish."
She referenced the shooting of a 5-year-old boy Monday in Rogers Park.
"Something has to be done in Chicago to make it a place where people feel safe," she said.
At the Planned Parenthood of Illinois event, CEO Jennifer Welch said the state "now serves more out-of-state patients than ever before. Approximately 30% of PPIL abortion patients are traveling here from nearly 20 different states. This is a historic high number."
Recent patients included a college student from Ohio, where abortions are banned after about six weeks, who received aid for food, gas and accommodations.
The agency needs increased funding but also needs "strong legislation to protect from potential legal action," Welch said. "Because it's no secret conservative politicians from surrounding states are coming for our providers and our patients."
After Roe was overturned June 24, Pritzker called for a session of the General Assembly within weeks to pass additional abortion protections, but that hasn't transpired yet.
Asked about the delays and if he was waiting until after the Nov. 8 election, Pritzker gave no date but said "legislators are hard at work now in working groups to make sure they can craft the legislation we need."