CHICAGO (WLS) -- Republican candidate for Illinois governor Darren Bailey is under fire for a remark he made in 2017 comparing the Holocaust and abortion.
Democrats are criticizing Bailey, while the Republican's camp said the comment was taken out of context. The comment was made while Bailey was running for state representative.
In a Facebook post on October 12, 2017, Bailey called abortion an atrocity and then compared it to the Holocaust.
"The attempted extermination of the Jews of World War II doesn't even compare on a shadow of the life that has been lost with abortion since its legalization," Bailey wrote in that post.
The comments drew sharp criticism from both abortion advocates and Jewish groups.
"You take that murder of six million people and you want to compare that to something like a person's right to make the self-determination of their own body, about their own right," said Laura Welch, president of the Illinois National Organization for Women. "It is so heinous, it is so disgusting."
"My great grandparents were killed in the Holocaust, it is something intensely personal to me and my family, to have somebody so cavalierly use the idea and the concept of genocide in context for political points, it's, it's so unfathomable to me," said State Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Highwood) who is also the chair of the House Jewish Caucus.
Bailey issued a statement clarifying his 2017 comments.
"The Holocaust is a human tragedy without parallel. In no way was I attempting to diminish the atrocities of the Holocaust and its stain on history. I meant to emphasize the tragedy of millions of babies being lost," Bailey said.
The executive director of Illinois Right to Life said Bailey's comments are being taken out of context.
"Planned Parenthood as well as the Pritzker campaign are using this to deflect what the real issue is, the fact that Illinois abortion laws are radical, even too radical for many who identify as pro-choice," said Amy Gehrke.
Bailey has always been staunchly against abortion and so it will continue to be an issue in this campaign. What's less clear is whether his old comments will cost him any votes.