A Republican candidate for a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives declined to reveal her position on abortion during a forum last week.
Carolyn Schofield, who is running against incumbent state Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) in the March 17 GOP primary for the state District 66 seat, refused to answer when she was asked at a Dundee Township Republican Party meeting if she considered herself pro-life.
“I don’t consider myself either, because I am more policy-driven,” Schofield said at the Feb. 5 event.
A video of the meeting shows her refusal to answer the question even when pressed.
“Because I can answer the question, and it just depends on the person,” she said.
Schofield said she didn’t want to be “hypocritical,” because she said when she is in a room and hears people talk about abortion, she thinks, “Oh, that’s me.” Then, when she is a different room and hears another point of view, she thinks, “Oh, that is me.”
Linda Prestia of Carpentersville, a Dundee Township Precinct committeeman, asked Schofield her position on abortion and was dismayed that she refused to disclose it.
“I was surprised,” Prestia told McHenry Times. “I became a committeewoman because of that. It’s a huge issue for me.”
She said people have thanked her for asking the question and following up to try to get an answer.
“They appreciate me asking and that I didn’t let her weasel her way out of it,” Prestia said. “It’s a fair question for a primary and to not answer it pretty much speaks volumes.”
Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) said Schofield has been avoiding the question of abortion throughout the campaign, although he said she has said in emails that she is pro-choice.
“I’m unequivocally pro-life,” Skillicorn told McHenry Times. “And I don’t run from it and I’m not ashamed of that. Because, frankly, life matters.”
Skillicorn, who has seen the video, said he was particularly disturbed when Schofield said her answer depends on what group of people she is talking with at the time.
“If she’s changing the answer based on the crowd, that tells me she’s lying,” Skillicorn said. “Which lie is it? Which crowd?”
Prestia said that is what she thinks and that Schofield seems to be “talking out of both sides of her mouth.”
Skillicorn said the Republican Party platform is clearly pro-life, which makes him wonder why Schofield is running under that banner. He has been endorsed by Illinois Right to Life and Illinois Family, while Schofield has declined to respond to surveys sent out by those groups. Schofield also does not mention abortion on her campaign website.
Schofield has been endorsed by District 33 state Sen. Don DeWitte (R-St. Charles), a Republican who is pro-choice.
This is not the first time Skillicorn, an East Dundee resident, and Schofield, who lives in Crystal Lake, have battled for the District 66 GOP nomination. He defeated her in the 2016 primary and won a term, and was unopposed for the Republican Party nod in 2018.
Prestia said she didn’t vote for either Skillicorn or Schofield in the close three-way race in 2016, but did support Skillicorn in 2018. She has been impressed by the staunchly conservative record he has built in the state House and his firm opposition to abortion.
In 2019, Skillicorn co-sponsored a “heartbeat bill” in response to the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, which has been labeled the most extreme pro-abortion law approved in American history. The Reproductive Health Act passed the Illinois House 64-50, with Skillicorn voting against it.
“Many in our Districts and in Illinois were shocked when they discovered that the Reproductive Health Act wasn’t just preserving abortion law in Illinois as it currently stood, which proponents repeatedly claimed, but advanced the most radical abortion law in our State’s history and the Nation,” Skillicorn said then.
The winner between Skillicorn and Schofield will take on the winner of the Democratic primary held on the same day. Jim Malone and Suzanne Ness are competing for that party’s nomination.
The 66th House District is located in Kane and McHenry counties and includes the communities of Algonquin, Crystal Lake, East Dundee, Elgin, Gilberts, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Lakewood, Sleepy Hollow and West Dundee.