Supreme Court nominee amping up abortion politics in Illinois governor's race

The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is sharply dividing many Republicans and Democrats and is promising to be an issue in the fall elections.

That includes the governor's race here in Illinois. In a move that may help him with conservatives, Governor Bruce Rauner has come out in support of Judge Kavanaugh's nomination.

"I believe he is highly experienced, well qualified for the position and I hope that his nomination is voted on and approved expeditiously," said Governor Bruce Rauner.

But many Democrats are concerned that if Kavanaugh is appointed to the Supreme Court, he could be the swing vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion rights ruling.

"I am terrified because for the first time in my life it's a matter of when and not if Roe vs. Wade will be eroded at best and overturned at worst," said Illinois Rep. Ann Williams (D) Chicago.

Tuesday, abortion rights supporters called on Governor Rauner to sign a pledge to continue to support HB 40. Rauner signed the bill into law earlier this year, it provides for taxpayer funded abortions for state employees and the poor. By doing so, the abortion rights supporting governor alienated his conservative base after flip-flopping on the issue.
"If re-elected, Bruce Rauner has proven he can't be trusted to protect legal abortion in Illinois," said Terry Cosgrove, President PersonalPAC.

"I'm aware that many people are trying to play politics with this issue and I want to make clear that I signed legislation here in the state of Illinois so that women's reproductive rights are protective regardless of what happens at the federal level," Governor Rauner said.

But while liberals see Kavanaugh as a threat to Roe v. Wade, conservative groups opposed to abortion are hopeful Kavanaugh will turn the court in their favor.

"I hope that someday, because Roe was wrongly decided, we think it should go, but there's no predicting that will happen ever, and certainly we can't predict it will happen soon," said Andy Bath, Thomas Moore Society.

As for signing the HB 40 pledge, the governor did not say specifically if he would or would not sign it, but he implied it wasn't necessary because he signed the bill itself.

Rauner's Democratic opponent JB Pritzker has signed the pledge and it's clear the Judge Kavanaugh nomination will continue to reverberate in Illinois politics between now and November.
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