Congressman Schilling Heeds Bustos' Call to Return Akin Contributions; Still Should Answer for Extreme, Cruel Effort to Redefine Rape, Marginalize Victims
Following Cheri Bustos' call for Congressman Bobby Schilling to return the $2,000 his campaign accepted from Congressman Todd Akin, Schilling released a statement today saying he'd be donating the contributions to charity. Left out of the release, however, was an explanation of Schilling's co-sponsorship with Akin on a bill to redefine rape and restrict victims' access to health care.
"Congressman Bobby Schilling worked closely with Mr. Akin to redefine rape -- an action that is appalling and out of touch with 930,000 women in Illinois who have been victims of rape," said Cheri Bustos, the Democratic nominee for Illinois 17th Congressional District. "We deserve to know why Congressman Schilling felt it was a priority to redefine rape," said Bustos, pointing to the pair's co-sponsorship of a bill that passed in the House of Representatives last year.
"Illinois families deserve a representative in Congress who will stand up for their health and well-being and fight for good jobs and a strong future for our middle class," continued Bustos. "Congressman Schilling can and will be held accountable for his failed leadership and pursuit of an extreme ideology that would try to qualify rape, and further demean its victims."
Both Republicans and Democrats have denounced Congressman Akin's attempt to distinguish between "legitimate rape" and other kinds and to the suggestion that women's bodies can shut down unwanted pregnancies. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney condemned the comments as well: "Congressman's Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told National Review Online.
In 2011, Schilling co-sponsored a bill in the House of Representatives, which would redefine a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt only "forcible rape" and not "rape" generally. [HR 3 Co-Sponsors, 112th Congress]
Congressman Schilling's extreme record on women's issues also includes two votes to defund Planned Parenthood, the largest U.S. provider of women's preventive health services, including cancer screenings. Schilling also voted against the once broadly bipartisan Violence Against Women Act that provides services, including transitional housing and legal assistance, to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
According to Open Secrets, Congressman Bobby Schilling received $2,000 from "Takin Back America," Congressman Todd Akin's Leadership PAC.