Some state lawmakers are calling for an investigation of the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) after the conservative lobbying group made online posts comparing members of the Illinois General Assembly who support the Reproductive Health Act to Nazis. At least two lobbyists have left their employment with IFI due to the controversy.
A social media post titled “Democrat Politicians and Nazis: Is There a Difference?” made head-to-head comparisons between the two groups. David Smith, IFI executive director, defended the now-deleted post to the Chicago Sun-Times. “You cannot help but connect the torturous ways that human beings were treated in Nazi camps and the way that pre-born babies are being treated in the women’s womb,” Smith said.
After the original post was deleted, a new post titled “Why is Legalized Abortion Called a Holocaust?” was published, showing side-by-side photos of a Planned Parenthood building and Auschwitz, a concentration camp. It too has been deleted. The postings followed along the time period of the March 20 Pro-Life Rally and Lobby Day at the Capitol in Springfield.
Since then, Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), a sponsor of the bill that would legalize abortion in Illinois through all nine months of pregnancy, spoke out against the posts. “This is a group promoting violence and hate speech and they have people on the payroll wearing badges bypassing security, walking in and out of this building every day. And I think that should be examined,” said Cassidy, who is also a member of the Jewish Caucus. A post on IFI’s Facebook page called Cassidy a “feticidal manic.”
Democrat members of the House have submitted to committee a resolution (HJR0055) calling for an investigation into IFI’s “hate speech and threats.” The resolution also asks the Secretary of State to suspend the lobbying credentials of anyone working on IFI’s behalf, and criticizes the Pro-Life Lobby Day, stating it “overtaxed Capitol security, resulting in at least three members requiring State Police escorts and multiple calls for assistance from Capitol Police by members and legislative aides.”
To read the entire resolution, go to ilga.gov and search for HRJ0055.
Disclosure: The Illinois Family Institute is an advertiser in the Illinois Baptist.
-Lisa Misner, with reporting from the Chicago Sun-Times