Lead story: Abortion took center stage at times during this election, and thanks in no small part to the wrong-headed words of U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, it seems a new battleground for the debate has emerged over the past few weeks: Illinois. Two weeks ago, after 17 years of skirmishes and injunctions, the state’s controversial abortion notification law — requiring patients 17 years old or younger to notify their parents before having an abortion — went before the Illinois state supreme court. Then, late last week, an Illinois appellate court ruled that two pharmacists could refuse to fill prescriptions for the Morning-After pill if it interfered with their “conscientious convictions,” saying the pair were protected by the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act. (An executive order signed in 2005 by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich had forced pharmacists to fill all prescriptions.)
It was against this backdrop that anti-abortion protesters gathered Monday night at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Aurora for a prayer vigil to mark the five-year anniversary of the clinic’s opening. The clinic had been a lightning rod of controversy when it opened and the vigil falls during anti-choice protesters “40 Days For Life” campaign. Though it’s no question which way the state will go in the upcoming election, the schism between liberal, urban Chicago and more conservative downstate areas will continue to widen over this issue well after the election, setting the groundwork for some interesting local elections down the line.Also: Monday was a big night for the Bears: The team came away with a 34-18 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, playing in a stadium with so many Bears fans it sometimes felt like a home game. The Bears defense had yet another stout performance, forcing five Cowboys interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns (by Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs). While the offense took a while to get going, it clicked well when it did with Jay Cutler throwing for 275 yards (138 of those to Brandon Marshall) and two touchdowns. At 3-1, the Bears remain tied with the Vikings atop the NFC North division and head to Jacksonville this weekend for their next game.
Announced: The 23 new MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant recipients, including Northwestern University historian Dylan C. Penningroth, who is researching pre-Civil War slaves who owned land. Other recipients include Claire Chase, flutist and co-founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble in Chicago, Punch Brothers mandolin player extraordinaire Chris Thile and acclaimed writer Junot Diaz.
- A Louisiana man became the nation’s 300th death row prisoner exonerated by DNA evidence.
- Todd “legitimate rape” Akin said he didn’t vote for the Ledbetter Bill to secure equal pay for women because, well, freedom.
- The Supreme Court is back in session and is taking up a human rights case involving Nigerians seeking asylum.
- Seth MacFarlane has been tapped to host the 2013 Academy Awards, which should keep the censors busy (hopefully, anyway).
- So an Iranian news agency ripped off a story from The Onion, claimed it was true, then apologized for plagiarism yet still sorta claims it’s true. Which makes total sense because, you know, Iran.
- There’s confusion over whether or not WLS refused to air an anti-Duckworth ad or deemed it unsuitable for airing.
- Now even IDOT is asking for public feedback to help them make future plans.
- Chicago Media Baron™ Robert Feder has the latest on WLS-AM host Don Wade, who is recovering from surgery to remove a growth from his brain.
- There are a lot of empty offices in suburban office parks.
- The White Sox were officially elimanted from the 2012 MLB playoffs Monday night courtesy of Detroit’s win, and thus completing the team’s epic collapse.
- Meanwhile, the Cubs hit the infamous 100-loss mark for the first time in 46 years after losing to the Astros.
- The Bulls have done the right thing and re-upped with Coach Thibs for four years.
- Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants DePaul to play their basketball games in the city proper again but isn’t giving any specifics as to where he wants them to play.
- Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano has been diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia and will take a leave of absence from the team.
Next time your kids ask you why the sky gets dark at night, you can give them a real answer other than what my parents told me, which was that Jesus turned off the sun so we could hide safely from the dragons. That’s Alabama for you.