SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — In the race for Illinois’ 13th Congressional District, which includes parts of Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, and Edwardsville, abortion rights came to the forefront this week. Democratic candidate Nikki Budzinski doubled down on her support of the issue while calling out her Republican opponent, Regan Deering.
“If the House Republicans and [Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy gets the gavel and the majority in November, and people like my Republican opponent Reagan Deering, who does not support a woman’s right to choose, get control of the House majority, we will see issues like a national abortion ban and a vote coming up in Congress on whether that should happen or not,” Budzinski said in a news conference Thursday.
Budzinski, who interned for Planned Parenthood in college, opposes a national ban on abortion.
When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, Deering, a business owner, applauded the decision but claimed she does not support a federal abortion ban, believing it is up to individual states to decide whether to restrict abortion access.
In a statement, Deering called Budzinski’s views on abortion “extreme.”
“As someone who was given life by a brave mother who chose adoption, the issue of life is personal to me,” the statement reads. “Nikki Budzinski’s false attacks are an attempt to deflect from her own extreme stance on abortion that is out of touch with our district that she just moved to.”
If elected to Congress, Budzinski said she would support protecting abortion rights at the federal level.
“I think this is the thing that we can be doing most immediately to make sure that we’re nationally protecting the freedoms of a woman to make her own choices as it relates to her own reproductive health care,” Budzinski said.
Budzinski, a former senior advisor to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, has received endorsements from Elect Democratic Women and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, along with other pro-abortion rights groups including EMILY’S List and NARAL.
Now, Budzinski is leaning in on her endorsements on the campaign trail. Her campaign is focusing on engaging women living in the 13th district to vote, with a special “Women with Nikki” committee.
When asked if she supports repealing the Hyde Amendment, a law prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortion services, Budzinski did not directly answer.
“I’m never going to vote for legislation that is going to put the health and the life of a woman at risk,” Budzinski said. “I think that we need to make sure that what we’re doing at the federal level is supporting a woman’s access to full reproductive health care.”
Deering, however, supports the Hyde Amendment as well as providing more funding for maternal care and adoption services.