Stark Contrasts in 8th District on Social Policy
Byline: Eric Peterson email@example.com
The divisive social policy issues of abortion, gun control and gay rights define some distinct differences between the three candidates for the 8th Congressional District.
Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean of Barrington supports a woman's right to choose.
Republican Joe Walsh of McHenry said he opposes abortion in every instance and would support any measure making legal abortions as restrictive as possible.
Green Party candidate Bill Scheurer of Lindenhurst said he opposes elective abortion as a means of birth control, but supports therapeutic abortions authorized by a physician in cases of rape, incest or a threat to the mother's health.
Bean, first elected to the 8th Congressional District in 2004, says her support of a woman's right to choose reflects the majority opinion in the 8th district.
"We so often look at these issues as black or white," when they often are not, Bean said. She said a woman diagnosed with cancer just before or after learning she is pregnant now must weigh the dilemma of carrying the fetus to term against treating the cancer with chemotherapy.
Scheurer said he supports educational measures that prevent the need for abortions, as well as programs helping women cope with unwanted pregnancies.
On the issue of gun control, Scheurer supports the right of responsible gun owners to possess as many and whatever kinds of firearms they wish. He believes these rights should be revoked only for a person who's committed a violent crime with a firearm.
He and Bean disagree about whether legislation governing gun ownership should be handled at the state or federal level.
Bean believes gun laws should be the province of state and local governments, while Scheurer sees that as a shirking of a federal responsibility. …