I know that Democrats are generally more prone than their Republican brethren to look to state intervention to solve problems. I also don’t particularly think that a sense of humor is undesirable in a politician, even if that sense of humor leads them over the line somewhat.
That being said, I think Illinois state Rep. Dianne Pappas may want to work on her messaging regarding the issue of abortion, particularly being a supporter of one of the most odious bills kicking around state legislatures in 2019.
Pappas, a Democrat (in Illinois? Quelle surprise!), is a supporter of HB2495, the Reproductive Health Act. Much like the identically identified legislation in New York, the Orwellian-named bill would allow for abortion up until birth.
In fact, it goes even further: “Under current Illinois law, abortion is not permitted after the fetus can survive outside the womb, unless the physician determines ‘it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother,'” Alexandria DeSanctis wrote in National Review. “The RHA would completely erase that provision, establishing instead ‘the fundamental rights of individuals to make autonomous decisions about one’s own reproductive health [including] to have an abortion.’”
The bill would also treat unborn life at any stage of development as essentially non-human: It stipulates that “a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the laws of this State.”
This is indeed pretty serious stuff and not something a legislator ought to be all j/k about, particularly with constituents. However, when members of a pro-life group from a local Catholic parish visited Pappas, that basic human response allegedly eluded her.
Instead, according to constituent Jackie Hayden, Pappas made a funny about castrating men and then taxing them to stop abortion. Good call.
Democratic Rep. Dianne Pappas under fire for castration remark on abortion bill #abortion #castration #DiannePappas #FeministCurrent #HolyGhostParish #HouseBill2495 #Illinois #illinoisnews #illinoispoliticalnews #illinoispolitics #JackieHayden #Reproducti https://t.co/kMDY25FdX5 pic.twitter.com/thHXBKo8TF
— Heartland Newsfeed (@HLNF_Bulletin) April 24, 2019
“A small coalition from a local parish in Wayne Township met at the district office of Representative Dianne Pappas in Bloomingdale to discuss HB2495 with Ms. Pappas,” Hayden wrote in a piece posted to the website of the Wayne Township Republicans last week.
“We tried to keep politics out of this equation, as we were here to represent the parish members for Pro-Life. I personally, introduced myself as a business owner, who is a licensed insurance agent. Two minutes into the discussion, she revealed her views on the topic and how we won’t be able to change her mind. (Well, I wasn’t there to change her mind, I was there to have her hear us out, I mean after all, she does work for us, correct?)”
Beyond that fact, Pappas is in a district where she unseated a Republican in last November’s election. Yes, Illinois is certainly as blue as states come, but her district isn’t, and refusing to listen to constituents isn’t exactly a roadmap to an electoral sinecure.
Neither is what allegedly happened next:
“You know, ladies, with technology the way it is, we wouldn’t have an abortion problem if we applied a plan,” Pappas said, according to Hayden. “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 problem is solved!”
Ho ho ho! See, it’s funny because, well, men!
“Thinking back on this and seeing the faces of the women who were with me, didn’t leave me speechless, but agitated (do you know how hard it was for me to bite my lip and not throw at her that I’m with The DuPage Republican Party and hold an elected office?) Anything bipartisan, just went out the door with that comment,” Hayden wrote. “Not to mention that during further discussion, she called one of our members a racist! Talk about an eye opener.
“But that was not the end of our meeting. She continued to lie about HB2495, such as how she claimed it was dead. That it won’t come back to review until next year. Well I checked the status and as of 3/29. [I]t’s currently in the powerful Rules Committee, and we know how that can go. Planned Parenthood is pushing hard for the passage of this bill (according to my sources).”
So, all right, this is one Republican’s version of events. What’s Rep. Pappas’ version? Well, as of now, nothing. The DuPage Policy Journal reported last week that it had contacted her office for comment, but its calls weren’t returned. That was as of last Tuesday. In the intervening series of local stories, including one published Sunday by the SW Illinois News, neither Rep. Pappas nor any of her Democratic colleagues seem to be willing to comment on this.
The absence of a comment from Pappas or her peers isn’t necessarily confirmation she uttered these words or some permutation of them, but if you were hoping for some sort of full-throated denial, this isn’t exactly a foretoken of good things to come.
After all, if you’re Pappas or one of her allies, there would be nothing better for your cause than to dunk on a bunch of prevaricating pro-life advocates. And heck — if Hayden made this story up, she deserves the dunking. As of Monday morning, at least, she’s yet to be posterized.
There’s another aspect of this whole controversy that I’d just as soon not cart out, inasmuch as anyone who’s followed a situation where a liberal says or does something that displays a shocking lack of self-awareness has seen it mentioned, and likely multiple times. I understand this is a state issue, but coverage has been limited, which means the impact has been limited, too.
Yes, I know many of you have seen this construct before, but follow me for those who haven’t:
Let’s say a Republican state rep is promoting a bill on abortion restrictions. His worried constituents come before him in order to be heard. He allegedly dismisses their opinions as inconsequential within minutes of the meeting beginning. Then, he says, “You know, there’s a simple way to solve this: Forced tubal ligation for women. We take their eggs, we freeze them, use some government money to keep them on ice, and when the woman can be responsible enough to not get herself pregnant accidentally, we let her have them.”
If he didn’t deny the exchange happened, the outcry would be national. For a gruesome and unacceptable joke about the state violating bodily autonomy, this guy would be out of office faster than Rod Blagojevich. Every major cable network would have correspondents on cots outside this individual’s office until he got booted.
Yet Pappas did the exact same thing, just reversing the roles. It’s just less offensive because, I don’t know, joking about the state violating the bodily autonomy and human rights of men is less offensive than joking about doing the same thing to women. After all, it’s a wisecrack about patriarchal oppression, or something.
Even if you want to concede that last point — and I’d be perfectly happy to, because it has nothing to do with the egregiousness of this all — Pappas was cracking wise about one of the most controversial state bills in the entire country, was doing so in a way that debased human life and individual rights in a repugnant manner and did so to marginalize and offend her constituents.
Plus, wasn’t this all supposed to be about bodily autonomy or something? I could have sworn it was.
For all I know, Rep. Pappas will come out and officially state that she did not make that joke with that woman, Miss Hayden. I doubt it.
At present, the silence on the Democrat side of the statehouse aisle speaks for itself in the most stentorian of ways.
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