A fired Rauner administration staffer— who penned a blog comparing abortion to Nazi Germany — is now the author of an op-ed piece designed to put pressure on the Republican governor to veto a controversial abortion bill on his desk.
In a Chicago Tribune op-ed, Brittany Clingen Carl warns Gov. Bruce Rauner about the risk of losing conservative voters should he sign House Bill 40, which was sent to his desk on Monday.
“If Rauner wants voters — especially those who comprise his conservative base — to believe anything he says on the campaign trail in 2018, he should veto the abortion bill on his desk. If Gov. Rauner truly believes in doing what’s best for taxpayers, he must veto the legislation,” Clingen Carl wrote.
Clingen Carl also writes about her short stint with the administration as a communications specialist, while labeling both Rauner and first lady Diana Rauner “strident” abortion rights supporters. Clingen Carl was hired after Rauner went on a staff purge in July: “I learned firsthand during that time how strident the Rauners are in their support of abortion, so I’m not going to attempt here to prove to them how morally wrong it is.”
Rauner has put himself in a tough spot politically over the legislation, which would ensure abortion remains legal in Illinois even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. The bill would remove a “trigger provision” in Illinois law that would outlaw abortion if the landmark court decision is overturned. But it would also expand insurance coverage of abortion, allowing women with Medicaid and state-employee health insurance to use their coverage for abortions.
In April, the governor said he didn’t support the Medicaid portion of the bill and planned to veto it. Last week, however, he said he was “assessing” the bill. On Monday, he said he was still talking to proponents and advocates. The first lady is a strong abortion rights advocate, and groups sharing that view are putting pressure on both Rauners regarding a questionnaire the governor signed in 2014 citing his support for women’s rights to have abortions. The governor has 60 days to act on the bill on a clock that began Monday.
Opponents of the bill argue that abortion would not become illegal if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, portraying the addition of the trigger language in House Bill 40 as a political move. And the state’s Department of Healthcare and Family Services has said a pre-Roe v. Wade statute that prohibited performance of abortion procedures was invalidated in a 1973 case and was repealed.
Clingen Carl was one of four communications staffers fired last month over a statement the office released about an Illinois Policy Institute cartoon. The statement noted that Rauner “as a white male” wouldn’t be commenting on whether the controversial cartoon was racist. The governor later decried the statement, and the staffers — two from the Illinois Policy Institute — were quickly shown the door. The departures marked the second staff shakeup within the administration this summer, when the governor’s more moderate Republican staffers were replaced with members of the conservative Illinois Policy Institute, including chief of staff Kristina Rasmussen and policy head Michael Lucci.
Clingen Carl came under fire in July about her earlier comments in online articles. She is listed as the editor and publisher of Reclaiming Feminism, a conservative blog. In an April blog post, Carl commented on a Huffington Post article about a Catholic high school in Canada that had been criticized for screening an anti-abortion video that compared the procedure to the Holocaust.
“Certainly nothing matches the atrocity of the Holocaust, but it’s undeniable that abortion is being used to rid the world of disabled and other ‘unwanted’ persons — a fact the Left and their pro-abortion allies don’t want discussed,” Carl wrote.
Carl also wrote about parents aborting babies diagnosed with Down syndrome: “Attempting to rid the world of people with Down syndrome simply because they are different constitutes the dangerous and morally reprehensible practice of eugenics not entirely unlike what was practiced in . . . Nazi Germany.”
Clingen Carl’s husband is Jared Carl, who is listed as vice president of development for the Illinois Opportunity Project on his LinkedIn page. The “free market” Illinois Opportunity Project is co-founded by conservative radio talk show host Dan Proft, a Rauner ally.