SPRINGFIELD, Ill (WCIA) – Before running for statewide office, Republican candidate for Governor Darren Bailey argued abortions are worse than Holocaust in a Facebook Live. 

“I believe that abortion is one of the greatest atrocities of our day and I believe it’s one of the greatest atrocities probably forever,” Bailey said in the video about six minutes in. “The attempted extermination of the Jews of World War II doesn’t even compare on a shadow of the life that has been lost with abortion since its legalization.”

The live video was filmed October 12, 2017, when Bailey was running for the Republican state representative primary against David Reis. Then-governor Bruce Rauner (R) had just signed a law repealing Illinois’ ‘trigger’ abortion ban less than a month before Bailey’s livestream. 

Illinois Holocaust experts quickly condemned his past comments. 

“This despicable rhetoric is dangerous, trivializes one of the worst stains on human history, and disparages the memory of millions,” Samuel Harris, President Emeritus of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, said. “We must demand more from our elected officials.”

The Springfield Jewish Federation said comparing anything to the Holocaust is offensive.

“Holocaust comparisons are always fraught, and inappropriate when used politically,” A statement from the Springfield Jewish Federation reads. “The Holocaust’s many lessons must be taught, one of which is avoiding using it as a rhetorical tool.”

Pro-abortion rights advocates also denounced the livestream. 

“The appropriation of the Holocaust is despicable and an insult to the millions who died as well as those who survived its racist agenda,” Jennifer Welch, Planned Parenthood of Illinois Action President said. “In addition, it reveals a complete lack of understanding of history and the realities of the lives of people seeking abortion care.” 

The campaign for his Democratic opponent, Governor J. B. Pritzker, who is Jewish, called Bailey’s remarks ‘disqualifying’. 

“Darren Bailey’s disgusting assertion that a woman determining her own reproductive future is worse than the Nazis’ genocide of 6 million Jews is offensive to Illinoisans everywhere,” Eliza Glezer, JB for Governor’s press secretary, said. “With violent antisemitism on the rise and in the wake of a massacre against the predominately Jewish Highland Park, Bailey must answer for his hateful comments.”

Bailey’s campaign has responded with the following comment:

“The Holocaust is a human tragedy without parallel. In no way was I attempting to diminish the atrocities of the Holocaust and its stain on history. I meant to emphasize the tragedy of millions of babies being lost. I support and have met with many people in the Jewish community in Illinois and look forward to continuing to work with them to make Illinois a safer and more affordable place for everyone.”