CHICAGO — Republican candidate for Illinois governor Darren Bailey is facing backlash after saying the horrors of the Holocaust “doesn’t even compare” to abortion.
On Tuesday, Democratic Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, who is Jewish, released an ad highlighting antisemitic comments made by Bailey during his 2017 run for a seat in the Illinois House.
The ad shows video of Bailey, who has said many times he is anti-abortion rights, being asked if he would allow a woman to have an abortion in cases of incest or rape.
“Right now, my answer is no,” Bailey says.
A voiceover then says, “But that’s not all Darren Bailey has said” about abortion.
“The attempted extermination of the Jews of World War II doesn’t even compare on a shadow of the life that has been lost with abortion,” Bailey says in the ad.
The comment was taken from a 2017 Facebook live during his campaign. In the full video, which was filmed in response to House Bill 40, the now state senator reads a passage from the Bible about life beginning at conception.
The video was first brought to the public’s attention after Forward, a Jewish news organization, published a story on their website.
Bailey responded to the backlash and issued the following statement:
“The Holocaust is a human tragedy without parallel. In no way was I attempting to diminish the atrocities of the Holocaust and its stain on history. I meant to emphasize the tragedy of millions of babies being lost. I support and have met with many people in the Jewish community in Illinois and look forward to continuing to work with them to make Illinois a safer and more affordable place for everyone.”
House Bill 40 was signed by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner, who Bailey criticized due to the bill expanding taxpayer funding for abortion procedures. In the video calls abortion one of the “greatest atrocities of our day.”
Bailey was recently criticized for comments he made during the mass shooting in Highland Park, a predominately Jewish neighborhood, during the Fourth of July parade that left seven dead and several others injured.
Bailey spoke after a July Fourth parade in Skokie was canceled in the wake of the shooting.
“Let’s pray for justice to prevail, and then let’s move on and let’s celebrate the independence of this nation,” he said.
He later apologized for his comments.