October 26, 2022

Where’s the gratitude from Democrats? No high-fives for Donald Trump. Because of the ex-president’s appointment of Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, the Democrats have a 2022 gift that just keeps on giving. Or maybe less so now.

The June Supreme Court Dobbs decision abolished abortion as a federally-protected constitutional right.

It did not  abolish the right to an abortion, subject to restrictions and exceptions, under each state’s laws. Illinois in 2019 abolished restrictions and codified abortion as a legal medical procedure. Abortion will never be banned in this state.

So why the frenzy from the Left? Because it is politically expedient and politically beneficial for Illinois Democrats to emulate the Chicken Little parable and repeat endlessly that “the sky is falling.”  It’s almost like they are quoting George Costanza  from “Seinfeld.”

“It’s not a lie if you believe it,” he would say. Well, that explains everything.

Abortion pro-choicers say it’s all about women’s “reproductive heathcare.” Of course it is. But having a child is also a serious life-changing event, with economic/career/lifestyle effects. 

I know, I’m an old White guy,  why the hell am I even talking about this? Well, I paid for three abortions for my then-girlfriends during my 20s, which was a LONG time ago.  It was a tough mutual decision. It was a choice. It was done in the first trimester. I took responsibility for my mistakes. And I have no regrets.

Pro-choicers insist on “My Body/My Choice.” They want their choice to be respected, as it should be. But sometimes they make it seem like it is some minor medical procedure.

Under Illinois law, most abortions are performed within 24 to 26 weeks, before the fetus becomes viable, but partial-birth abortions can be performed, although they are rare.

All restrictions regarding those type of abortions were repealed in June of 2019. There is no pressure, as in the past, to abort in the first trimester (90 days). But at some point the fetus becomes viable.

Pro-lifers view a viable fetus – meaning able to live outside the womb – as a baby. For them  it’s “My Faith/My Choice.” But they get no respect. They are heaped with scorn by the media and the Left and ridiculed as “extremists.”

An Oct. 18 Chicago Sun-Times-WBEZ poll was headlined that half of Illinois voters want abortion to stay legal and a third don’t. But that manipulated the numbers: 10 percent wanted abortion illegal with no exceptions, and 24 percent wanted abortion legal with no restrictions, even to the moment of birth, when a partial-birth abortion could be performed.  But 54 percent said abortion should be either legal or illegal in “most cases.”  Illinoisans want the option of some choice, it seems.

55TH HOUSE DISTRICT (Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Morton Grove west of Harlem): This is “ground zero” in the 2022 abortion battles, but it really doesn’t matter. The Illinois House is 73D-45R, a super-majority which will not change appreciably on Nov. 8. The Republicans could gain 2-3 seats, but the 55th won’t be one of them.

The reason is 10-year incumbent Martin Moylan, age 70, is a perfect fit for the district, which contains 62 suburban precincts and 6 in Chicago’s 41st Ward.. Moylan is not a Woke Leftist. He very publicly in 2020 refused to endorse Kim Foxx for re-election and voted against the SAFE-T Act which abolished cash bail throughout the state for virtually almost every felony. “I represent the views of my district,” Moylan said, “not of my party.” But he is an implacable supporter of abortion choice and that issue is his major focus. “In some areas, especially Park Ridge, it is the top issue,” he added.

Moylan is a journeyman electrician and 55-year IBEW member. He has rejected his Illinois pension. Moylan is the eldest of 13 children and helped raise his siblings after his father, an electrician, died when Moylan was a teen. He got his political start in Tom Casey’s old West Side 37th Ward then eventually settled in Des Plaines and was elected alderman in the late 1990s and then mayor. His son Colt Moylan is now an alderman and heir apparent for his dad’s state rep seat. “I am not even thinking of retiring,” Moylan said.

By 2012 Rosemary Mulligan (R) had been the 55th’s state rep for 20 years, was Springfield’s most virulent pro-choicer, and was the darling of PersonalPAC, the state’s premier pro-abortion fund-raiser. The group has a huge database of pro-choice donors and voters and would blanket Mulligan’s district with direct mail whenever she ran.

Mulligan was a movement heroine because she took out state rep Penny Pullen (R), once Springfield’s most virulent pro-lifer. Mulligan lost to Pullen by 6 votes in the 1990 (R) primary and then beat her soundly in 1992. By 2012 she was complacent, expected everything on a platter, and the Maine Township Republicans (of which she was committeeman) were a hollow shell. Abortion had poisoned the well, with the pro-lifer faction led by Bob Dudycz forming their own group.

It only takes about 500 nominating petition signatures, 1,000 to be safe, but Mulligan relied on Springfield House Republican staffers to get them at the last-minute, meaning at supermarkets. The petitions were challenged, found insufficient, and Mulligan was off the ballot. Her primary write-in failed. And Moylan, then Des Plaines mayor, was in the enviable position of being the on-ballot Democratic nominee. Mike Madigan pumped $500,000 into the race and Moylan won.

Madigan perfected the concept of “parking,” which is the transfer of $400,000-plus from one of his accounts to that of a subservient state rep. The goal was to intimidate the (R) opposition. Moylan was a “parkee” and faced desultory opposition after 2014, which was competitive. “I’m on my own now,” he said, with Madigan gone. Moylan reported $295,929 cash-on-hand as of Sept. 30, most trade union money.

Moylan is a tireless door-knocker and has a fine-tuned ground game. He asks people what their concern is and files it away.  If it’s abortion he gets them a “We’re a Pro-Choice Home” yard sign. He delivers doggie-treats. He called and delivered free masks to seniors during the pandemic. “I’ve been to some houses a dozen times,” he said.

Mike Lupo (R), a small business owner, is Moylan’s opponent. He has a compelling story: His son has congenital heart defects and he and his wife were offered the option to abort. “We chose life.” His son is now age 10. “Every day is a gift,” he said.  “I support choice.”

Moylan is going to win big, in the 55-60 percent range. But if Lupo stays in for the long haul he could win in 2026 or beyond.   

ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT (2nd and 3rd Districts): Again, it really doesn’t matter. Democrats currently have a 4-3 majority and there is every expectation that it will grow to 5-2. The Democratic legislature redrew the 4 districts outside Cook County to give the 2 northernmost a decided Democratic lean while conceding the 2 southernmost to the Republicans. Cook County comprises the 1st District and it has, of course, 3 Chicago Democrats – a man and two women.
Given the Democrats’ identity obsession, the expectation was the next 1st District vacancy would go to Appellate justice Jesse Reyes, who finished a close second in the 2020 primary for the Freeman vacancy. Freeman was the Court’s first Black justice, and the primary was won by Black appellate justice P. Scott Neville.

Now Chief Justice Anne Burke is retiring, effective Nov. 30, and the sitting Supreme Court justices have already picked Appellate justice Joy Cunningham to fill the vacancy. “That was supposed to be our seat,” fumed ex-judge and Latina political strategist Gloria Chevere. “It was our turn.”

Well, Latinos will get their shot if not their turn. But it won’t be until the March of 2024 Democratic primary, when Reyes and a whole slew of Appellate justices will be challenging Cunningham, likely including Cynthia Cobbs and Nathaniel Howse, and Margaret Stanton McBride, Aurelia Pucinski, Mathias DeLort and Sheldon Harris. As the incumbent Cunningham will get slated and will be favored, as Neville was in 2020, when he won with just 35 percent.

But the 2022 action is in the 2nd and 3rd Districts. And the buzz is all about abortion as SuperPAC pro-choice advocacy groups donate heavily to Appellate justice Elizabeth Rochford (D) and Appellate justice Mary Kay O’Brien (D) in the 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Their goal is not to block an abortion ban, which won’t ever happen, but to keep pro-lifer lawyers from “nibbling around the edges,” as the pro-choicers term it. For example the law for parental notification by a provider of a minor’s imminent abortion was repealed in 2021, but there are lawsuits pending. There will constantly be bills to impose restrictions or eliminate exceptions.

Rochford’s opponent is ex-Lake County sheriff Mark Curran (R), who has been rated Not-Qualified by the bar associations because he’s never been a judge. O’Brien’s opponent is appointed justice Michael Burke (R), a former DuPage County judge and Appellate justice, who is highly-rated. Both Democratic women will win.

Read more Analysis & Opinion from Russ Stewart at Russstewart.com

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