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Group Attacks Topinka's Abortion Record
by Andrew Davis

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Personal PAC, a local pro-choice group, has contended that the abortion-related actions of Republican State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka—who is expected to officially announce her intention to run for governor in next year's race—are markedly different from her stance.

According to an e-mail from organization president and CEO Terry Cosgrove, Topinka has 'intentionally misrepresent [ ed ] her abortion position as 'pro-choice' to individuals and the public.' Among the items the missive mentioned were that:

— Topinka did not return Personal PAC's 2002 candidate questionnaire, despite the cover letter stating that failing to send the item back would be seen as opposition to the organization's positions on reproductive rights issues.

— She voted to ban state employee health insurance coverage for abortion ( SB 518, 1983-84 session ) , even though many private insurance companies cover abortion.

— Topinka voted for bills that called for parental notice of abortion ( SB 521, 1983-84 session & SB 209, 1993-94 session ) despite evidence that this legislation put the health and lives of young women at risk.

— She voted for allowing a spouse to go to court to stop a woman from having an abortion ( SB 887, 1985-86 session ) .

Topinka's office has responded to the specifics mentioned in the e-mail. David Loveday, Topinka's campaign manager, addressed each of the items mentioned above. 'She did not return the questionnaire because, prior to the campaign, Personal PAC was already supporting her opponent [ for state treasurer ] , Tom Dart,' Loveday told Windy City Times. 'Also, though [ Topinka ] supports Roe, she does not support using taxpayer dollars to fund [ abortions ] .'

In addition, Loveday noted that Topinka does support parental notice regarding abortions and that she believes that the husband should have a say 'at the time a fetus becomes viable.' Her positions, according to Loveday, shows that Topinka's thinking is like that of many others. 'Personal PAC has concerns, but she's in the mainstream,' he said.

Cosgrove, when informed of Loveday's statements, disagreed about the questionnaire. 'That assertion [ regarding Dart ] is just flat wrong,' he said. As the incumbent, [ Personal PAC ] would've endorsed her; we actually endorse candidates from both parties. We went to great lengths—we even tried to meet with her and find out her position, but we never heard anything. [ Therefore, ] the only thing we can go on is her voting record.'

As for the 'mainstream' comment, Cosgrove, who is openly gay, responded that voting for measures 'that can [ allow ] husbands of domestic violence victims to have a say is out of step with the mainstream. She allows legislation that puts women at risk. Judy Baar Topinka is trying to have it both ways.'

Topinka, as state treasurer, has supported the state gay-rights law and funding for the Center on Halsted.

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