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Republicans governor contenders differ on guns, abortion
By John Patterson | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 1/10/2010 12:02 AM

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SPRINGFIELD - The issues of abortion rights and gun control reveal distinctions among the seven Republicans seeking the party nomination for governor.

Only Bob Schillerstrom, a Naperville resident and chairman of the DuPage County Board, described himself as supporting abortion rights in a Daily Herald questionnaire. He said he does not favor outlawing abortion, a view that set him apart from the other Republican hopefuls.

"I believe abortion is a deeply personal decision that should be made by a woman in consultation with her doctor, clergy and family - not the government," Schillerstrom said.

The other Republican candidates - Hinsdale businessman Adam Andjewezeski, Bloomington state Sen. Bill Brady, former party chairman Andy McKenna of Chicago, political consultant Dan Proft from Chicago, and former state Attorney General Jim Ryan of Elmhurst - all said they opposed abortion, though the extent of that opposition varied.

Andjewezeski said the only exception to his opposition to abortion is for the life of the mother, "knowing that such circumstances are very rare."

Brady cited his Roman Catholic beliefs as the basis for his abortion views. However, as governor, he said he'd follow federal laws on the issue.

Dillard described himself as "pro-life," "with the exceptions of life of the mother, rape and incest."

Proft opposes both abortion and the death penalty, saying he believes in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.

"Roe v. Wade is bad constitutional law, inconsistent with our God-given right to life and should be overturned," he said.

"In addition to an important policy issue, this is a personal issue for me as I was born approximately nine months before the Roe decision and I was adopted. Thus, had the law been a bit different a bit earlier, perhaps the world would never have been availed of my brilliance."

Ryan said he is morally opposed to abortion and would support "any measures" that reduce the number of abortions in Illinois.

Guns

On the issue of letting Illinois residents legally carry concealed weapons, Andjewezeski, Brady and Proft said they support such laws.

Dillard said he "could be" for concealed carry if there are adequate background checks, registration and training.

McKenna, Ryan and Schillerstrom said they opposed concealed carry laws. Schillerstrom said he does not view them "as a solution for reducing crime in the state of Illinois."

Gay marriage

All seven Republicans said they oppose gay marriage.

"There are already ways for individuals to arrange their affairs in the manner they wish. Health benefits can and should be negotiated by the people engaging in the benefit contracts," said Andjewezeski.

Brady said he'd support amending the Illinois Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. That definition currently exists in state law but not the constitution.

Dillard and McKenna both said they generally oppose gay marriage.

Proft said he opposes gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partner health benefits.

Ryan also opposes gay marriage and civil unions.

Schillerstrom said he opposes gay marriage but supports existing Illinois law that protects same-sex couples in "most legal and medical situations."