The campaigns for U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Ill., and Democrat Cheri Bustos had a sharp exchange on Tuesday over rape and abortion, part of the fallout over controversial comments a Missouri lawmaker made about “legitimate rape.”

Bustos’ campaign criticized Schilling for his co-sponsorship of a bill last year she says would have redefined rape, saying he and Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., “worked closely” on the measure. She also cited Schilling’s votes to defund Planned Parenthood, calling his record on women’s issues “extreme.”

“The hundreds of thousands of women in Illinois’ 17th District deserve a representative in Congress that will stand up for their health and well being,” Bustos said in a statement.

Akin outraged Democrats and Republicans over the weekend with comments about how victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant. He has apologized but is being pressured to drop out of a highly contested Missouri Senate race against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

Schilling, in a news release Tuesday morning, condemned Akin’s comments, calling them “wrong and inexcusable.” But his campaign didn’t shrink from Bustos’ criticism, which came in a news release late Monday.

Jon Schweppe, a spokesman, declined to talk in detail about Schilling’s co-sponsorship of the abortion funding bill.

“That’s semantics. Bobby believes rape is rape,” he said. “It’s wrong.”

But he said it is Bustos who has the extreme views.

“It’s actually kind of sick, but Cheri actually supports late-term abortions for seventh-grade girls, and she doesn’t even want her parents to know about it,” he said.

Schweppe cited news reports saying EMILY’s List, whose members have given Bustos more than $110,000, has declined to support candidates in the past when they backed bans on late-term abortion or opposed measures requiring parental consent and notification.

Jess McIntosh, a spokeswoman for EMILY’s List, called the Schilling camp’s claim is “ridiculous.” She said the group supports pro-choice women who run strong campaigns.

Allison Jaslow, Bustos’ campaign manager, said: “What’s really important is for voters again to know why he felt it was important to redefine rape in Congress.”

The abortion-funding bill was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and early last year when Republicans took the majority in the House after the midterm elections. The measure, while it had some Democratic support, got a vast majority of its backing from Republicans. A total of 227 lawmakers are listed as co-sponsors.

The bill would have codified federal provisions concerning abortion, including what’s known as the Hyde Amendment, the measure that has banned federal funding for abortions since the mid-1970s.

The amendment, which is renewed annually, has included exceptions for the victims of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in danger. But the House bill as it was introduced last year would have changed the rape exception to victims of “forcible rape.”

That caused an outcry among critics who said it would exclude women who had been drugged or were the victims of statutory rape.

Backers of the language said critics were exaggerating the impact to serve their own ends, according to a Washington Post article on the controversy.

The language eventually was dropped, and the House approved the bill. It never got past the Senate.

The furor over Akin’s comments has dominated political coverage the past two days, as a range of candidates have weighed in, including President Barack Obama and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

The Bustos campaign Monday noted that Schilling has taken $2,000 in campaign contributions from Akin, saying he should return the money.

On Tuesday, Schilling’s campaign said it was giving the money it received from Akin’s leadership PAC to the Rock Island County Children’s Advocacy Center.

Schweppe said it was not in response to the Bustos camp’s demand, but a decision it made once it found the donation had been made.

(12) comments




How many years have Democrats raped Illinois? lol


They are both scumbags, and I wish there was a way for both to lose.


Bobby Schilling changes him mind, whatever direction the campaign wind blows. He has done this from the time he took office. It should be no surprise to anyone. Schilling changes his mind every time he turns around, now it is our time to change our representative in the 17th District. Cheri Bustos is the change we need, her commitment to the people of the 17th. will not change.


Could the Quad City Times be any more PREJUDICED when it comes to Politics, you don't even act like you are neutral.

Over taxed

rt, are you new around here? If you want neutral you have come to the wrong place. This paper was founded to promote the Democratic party. They have no obligation, and certainly no intention, of being neutral. Don't let the new name fool you. Besides, Warren Buffet would drop them like a hot potato if he got so much as a whiff of neutrality.


This is another case of Schilling saying one thing and voting another. Do you read the bills Congressman Schilling before you vote on them or, is it you just don’t understand what you are voting on. In your view Congressman Akin was right last but this week he is wrong. Is it because if you keep the views you had last week it will jeopardize your job? Congressman Schilling you voted last year to fund Obamacare by the tune of $105 billion. Last year did you approve of Obamacre that funds abortion, but when you talk to your constituents you do not agree with Obamacare, you tell them you will repeal it. Does that mean last year when you voted to fund Obamacare you were Pro Choice, but when you come home and talk to your constituents you are Pro Life? Last December you told the local media and your constituents there is no way you would vote for the payroll tax cut extension, but the next day you returned to Washington and voted for it. Apparently John Schweppe, Schilling’s spokesman thinks he knows where Cheri Bustos stands but not where his own candidate stands on issues. Congressman Schilling how can anyone vote for you when from one day to the next we do not know where you stand on the issues?

Right Message

Wait, so does Cheri Bustos support late-term abortion for 7th graders or not? Allison didn't say. Looks like she just pivoted to her offensive talking points.

Devin H
Devin H

This is the main problem I have with the Schilling Campaign. Their Glenn Beck style communication, spewed by young men under 25 years old running his campaign. The voters of the 17th District deserve HONEST, FORTHRIGHT, MATURE communication. To say that Bustos supports late-term abortion for 7th graders, because a major PAC that supports her believes it, is preposterous and borderline slanderous. "Every Republican is Crucial" is a PAC that supports Mr. Schilling. They support Akin. So, does that mean Schilling believes only Legitimate Rapes "take". ????? Of course not. Grow up Mr. Schweppe. Seriously. Grow the f up.

Devin H
Devin H

And I say this with all due respect. Because Mr. Schilling is a mature, honorable man, and the communication coming from his campaign is nearly opposite.


And you are telling someone to grow up?

coffee cup
coffee cup

You can't run from your record Bobby! Hee hee!

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