Over the past few weeks, several Illinois Review commenters have questioned U.S. Senate candidate Steve Sauerberg's views on abortion. His website does not address abortion and he chose not to reply to Illinois Family Institute's nor Illinois Federation for Right to Life's federal candidate surveys. IFRL endorsed little-known GOP primary candidate Mike Psak, based on his survey responses.
Psak is running a small volunteer grassroots campaign with little funding. Odds are heavily in favor of Steve Sauerberg to be the GOP's nominee to run against Dick Durbin in the November election. Dick Durbin has evolved into a pro-abort radical that many would like to see upended as South Dakota did their former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle in years past. Prolifers want a reason to support and get excited about this 2008 Durbin challenge.
So in the context of a multi-issue interview -- which we'll cover in full later this week -- IR asked Sauerberg the question for you.
We know it's not as in depth on the topic as many of you would have liked, but his comments should give you an indication of where he is on the issue, or maybe they will leave you with more questions.
We've transcribed that part of the conversation verbatim for your assessment. We asked, we report, you decide. . .
IR: The one position no one seems to know is your position on abortion.
Sauerberg: Actually, lots of people know.
IR: Okay, can we have your position in a sound byte?
Sauerberg: A sound byte? There is no sound byte...If you want a sound byte, it’s 'I’m pro-baby, pro-mother and pro-family.' That’s the sound byte. If you want to know my background -- which is what I think is critical -- I will give you my background...
My background is very simple: My wife has devoted countless hours on behalf of crisis preganancy centers, we have devoted thousands of dollars to CareNet crisis pregnancy center and others; she was president of the auxiliary (which has disbanded) and she reformed an organization of women (I believe it consists mostly of women) that now raises funds for a number of different crisis pregnancy centers and organizations. And I think it’s critical that people understand where my family personally comes from on this issue, and where I’m likely to go with my policy decisions.
IR: Do you ever recommend abortion for your patients?
Sauerberg: I haven’t talked to a patient about abortion for many years, actually. That has not come up, interestingly enough. Maybe it’s because I have a reputation in the community, I cannot say what that is. But I don’t get that question.
IR: Barack Obama is facing questions for his position while in the Illinois legislature as to his position on the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. He was adamantly opposed to protecting babies who were born alive and left to die . . . I’m sure you’ve heard about this in detail . . . Obama opposed the legislation. At the federal level, Hillary Clinton supported the legislation. At the state level, Barack Obama opposed it, as the state version included punishment for doctors who allowed babies born alive to die. It’s now federal law, but an attempt to repeal it could come before the U.S. Senate. . .The babies this legislation applies to are viable, but perhaps amniocentesis indicated Down’s syndrome or some other malady. These babies are being aborted and left to die. Your thoughts on this issue?
Sauerberg: I’ve delivered 500 babies and I cannot imagine a baby that had potential viability being abandoned. You know, the concept would not have occurred to me, nor would it occur to many physicians, I can tell you that. So, I don’t think anyone needs to have concerns about my position on issues of that nature. . . it’s just basic humanity to me. . .
IR: Would you favor a Human Life Amendment?
Sauerberg: Depends on what it says.
IR: Your positions on these issues seem fairly clear to you. . . yet you don’t seem to lead with them, as if they’re not major issues . . .
Sauerberg: To say they’re not major issues is probably not entirely accurate. I believe we need to bring people together on this issue. I believe sometimes the way we talk about it is divisive. I have a record of saving babies. I have a personal, visible record of actually doing something about it, not just talking. And this is what I want to see people do.
I do not want to be involved in a partisan, bitter, divisive debate over who’s this or who’s that. What I want to do is get everybody on the same page, working in the same direction to reduce dramatically the number of abortions in this state and this country. That’s all we can do as of this moment. And if our verbiage divides us, we are going to be less likely to accomplish that goal, which I believe a significant majority of the population believes in.
IR: Do you find that when you travel the state in Republican circles that abortion is a troubling issue, or are people willing to come together because you are opposing Dick Durbin? Would someone say they wouldn’t support you over the abortion issue?
Sauerberg: Yes, that’s been a very difficult thing for me. Just because I don’t say things exactly the way they want, they find that unacceptable . . .
IR: On either side?
Sauerberg: On either side. . .
IR: I see.
Sauerberg: What I find is if I’m allowed to talk to people on both sides of this argument, I can usually get them to understand and support what I want to do. And isn’t that a healthier approach to deal with the problem as it currently exists?
IR: Then you really want to get away from the demagogy on the issue?
Sauerberg: Yes, it’s just not getting us anywhere. Yes, sometimes I think we’ve become so involved in demagogy – if you want to use that word – that we forget there’s a lot of work to be done and can be done if we put some of the combativeness aside and work together to accomplish a goal that I think is doable and that I believe most people believe in.