I am pro-life because abortion hurts women physically and psychologically, and it destroys an innocent human being.

Respect for innocent life is practical self-defense. If the powerful in any society can decide that others can be destroyed, whether they are unborn, sick, old, disabled, or even inconvenient, it can be a matter of time before every human being is at risk.

It is an unfortunate fact of my political career that my house has been egged, my tires slashed on the Capitol driveway after the Parental Notification debate (reported in the Chicago Tribune), insults shouted at my wife, Sarah, during a parade in my hometown of Aurora, Illinois, and spit across the windshield of my car after an election forum so thick that I thought it had rained while we had been inside... all over the issue of abortion.

My reaction to this experience is to recognize and understand the deep emotion surrounding this important issue. Violence is wrong whether it is in favor of or opposition to abortion, and I have tried to find common ground. For example, I successfully sponsored the Ban on Partial Birth Abortion in the Illinois Senate in 1997. Congressman Peter Roskam sponsored it in the House of Representatives when he served in Springfield. And, pro-choice Governor Edgar signed it into law. Unfortunately, it was effectively struck down by the U.S. Supreme court in 2000 when the Nebraska ban was nullified. For an unborn human being to come within six inches of being born, only to have scissors shoved into the base of his or her skull, the baby's brains sucked out, and then the body discarded is a brutal and barbaric act that cannot be a stain on our nation's conscience. Doctors consistently testified in committees in both the Illinois Senate and House that it is never in the best interests of a woman's health to perform such a dangerous procedure.

I am in favor of Parental Notification and legislation that would require abortion clinics to have at least the same regulatory standards as ambulatory out-patient procedure centers.

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