(WMBD) — Illinois lawmakers are reacting to comments made by gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia), in which he stated the horrors of the Holocaust “doesn’t even compare” to abortion.

In a 2017 video on Facebook, Bailey–who was at that time running for the House of Representatives–said that “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.”

Gov. JB Pritzker’s campaign responded to Bailey’s statement on his behalf.

“Conflating a woman’s bodily autonomy to the systematic mass murder of Jewish people is antisemitic and 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,” said JB for Governor Press Secretary Eliza Glezer. “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.”

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released a statement Tuesday morning.

“Darren Bailey’s comments are despicable and deeply upsetting. Comparing the extreme horror of the Holocaust and its immeasurable loss to a woman’s right to choose is unacceptable, full stop,” said Duckworth. “To conflate a woman’s freedom over her own body to the attempted extermination of the Jewish people is antisemitic, inaccurate and wrong. I urge my opponent, Kathy Salvi, to denounce Darren Bailey’s extreme and inappropriate comments, but know she’s lockstep with her Republican running mate on women’s healthcare, leaving no exception on abortion for rape or incest.”

State Rep. Bob Morgan is the Chair of the Illinois Jewish Caucus. He had this to say in conjunction with Gov. Pritzker’s statement.

“Darren Bailey’s extremism knows no bounds. Comparing a woman’s right to choose to the catastrophic loss of life during the Holocaust is unconscionable and quite frankly, disqualifying,” said Morgan. “It is demeaning to the legacies of those we’ve lost to reduce their suffering to a political talking point. Darren Bailey is once again causing harm with his callous words and actions and he must be held accountable for this abhorrent behavior.” 

Morgan has previously critiqued Bailey for his comments suggesting that the Highland Park community “move on” after the mass shooting that took place on the Fourth of July. The shooter had a history of posting antisemitic content online.

Bailey responded to the criticism with a statement sent to WMBD Tuesday afternoon:

“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.”

Darren Bailey, Republican candidate for Illinois governor