Old Bailey video shows candidate comparing abortion to Holocaust

GOP gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey in a 2017 state representative campaign video. Screenshot from Facebook.

An old campaign video from Illinois GOP gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey has the candidate comparing abortion to the Holocaust.

The video, from Bailey’s 2017 campaign for state representative, was found by the Jewish news site Forward. In the video, Bailey is blasting then Gov. Bruce Rauner signing a bill that guaranteed access and monetary support for reproductive services, including abortion. At about six minutes in, Bailey compares abortion to the Holocaust.

“I believe that abortion is one of the greatest atrocities of our day and I believe it’s one of the greatest atrocities probably forever,” Bailey said in the video. “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.”

The Jewish Federation of Springfield had an opinion on that.

“Holocaust comparisons are always fraught, and inappropriate when used politically,” said Nancy Sage, executive director of the federation. “The Holocaust’s many lessons must be taught, one of which is avoiding using it as a rhetorical tool.” 

Keri Tate, co-founder of Springfield’s Resistor Sisterhood, called Bailey’s statement hyperbole.

“Creating a false equivalency between Hitler and individuals making, what until very recently has been a constitutionally protected right (and still should be), is cruel and specious,” she said. “Hitler systematically murdered over six million Jews and another five million prisoners of war including Romany, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others. An individual facing the decision to terminate a single pregnancy when faced with health, economic, or other issues is NOT the same thing.”

Tate said that politicians used this rhetoric to vilify those who do chose to have an abortion and make them seem evil.

“Characterizing those who seek abortion as war criminals may sadly garner him a few votes, but most of us see it for what it is – political opportunism at the expense of those who are making an incredibly difficult choice for themselves and their family,” she said. “Making a legal choice about your body is not evil. It is not a systematic program to wipe out an entire group of people.”

Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA) also blasted the comment.

“Darren Bailey’s comparison between abortion and the Holocaust is an outrageously inaccurate and harmful trope used by the most radical elements of the anti-choice movement to propagate misinformation and hateful rhetoric about fundamental reproductive health care and the people seeking safe and legal abortions,” said Jennifer Welch, CEO of PPIA. “The appropriation of the Holocaust is despicable and an insult to the millions who died as well as those who survived its racist agenda.”

Welch said the comment should not come from any elected official, let alone a candidate for governor. She called on Bailey to apologize.

When contacted through his campaign, Bailey said the Holocaust was a “human tragedy without parallel” and wasn’t trying to diminish it.

“I meant to emphasize the tragedy of millions of babies being lost,” he said. “I support and have met with many people in the Jewish community in Illinois and look forward to continuing to work with them to make Illinois a safer and more affordable place for everyone.”