Democratic colleague and abortion bill co-sponsor 'very surprised' by Pappas' comments, 'if true'
Remarks about castration as a way to reduce abortion numbers are out of character for the freshman Illinois lawmaker alleged to have made them by a Republican official, said one of her Democratic colleagues during a recent interview.
The remarks attributed to state Rep. Diane Pappas (D-Itasca) just don't sound like her, state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Spring Valley) told Peoria Standard via email.
"I don't know Rep. Pappas well, she is new, but what I do know of her – I am actually very surprised to hear that she would say this," Gordon-Booth said. "She always is kind and I have never heard her speak ill of anything or anyone. With that said, I obviously think these comments, if true, are over the line."
Gordon-Booth also said there are more civilized ways to reduce abortion numbers.
"Castrations are not something that we talk about in civil society," she said. "There are reproductive health professionals that are all over the spectrum and I plan to listen to those that devote their time and energy solely to this space and listen for understanding from them as to current issues, concerns, challenges, and go from there."
Last week, Wayne Township Republican trustee Jackie Hayden reported that Pappas suggested castration as a way to reduce abortion numbers during a meeting with a DuPage County pro-life group of women. Hayden quoted Pappas as saying, "You know ladies, with technology the way it is, we wouldn't have an abortion problem if we applied a plan. Now, I've been told it's a bit radical, but if we allowed men to be castrated, took the sperm to the bank, collected tax dollars on it for storage, then when it's time, to have the man decide he's ready to begin a family . . . well, then the problem is solved!"
Hayden said Pappas made the comment when Hayden and "a group of concerned citizens" met with Pappas at the lawmaker's district office in Bloomingdale last month to discuss the Reproductive Health Act, House Bill 2495.
Gordon-Booth is a co-sponsor – while Pappas is not – of HB 2495, which would repeal and replace Illinois' current abortion law and make abortion a fundamental right in the state. HB 2495 is widely seen as a hedge against the possible overturning of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v Wade decision.
HB 2495, which Hayden said would make Illinois the most unrestricted abortion state in the nation, has been in the House Rules Committee since the end of March.
Hayden's recollections about what Pappas allegedly said were published on the Wayne County Republican Organization's website and as an op-ed piece in DuPage Policy Journal. The story has attracted little attention outside of conservative publications in Illinois.
Pappas, a freshman lawmaker who defeated Republican incumbent Christine Winger in November to take over the state House 45th District seat, has not responded to requests for additional comment following publication of Hayden's allegations. The 45th district is located in northern DuPage County and includes all or parts of Addison, Bartlett, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Hanover Park, Itasca, Medinah, Roselle, Wayne, West Chicago, and Wood Dale.
Gordon-Booth told the Peoria Standard that "all the dynamics" of the now almost three-month-old HB 2495 remain "unclear. I do not know its chances of passage," she said.
Gordon-Booth has represented the House 92nd district since 2009. The 92nd House District is located entirely within Peoria County and includes Peoria Heights, Peoria, West Peoria, Bellevue and Bartonville.