Verification: How Democratic Ads Mislead Four GOP Candidates’ Abortion Positions


Democrats have spent weeks attacking Republican midterm candidates with television ads about abortion. Some advertisements have been misleading.

Many Democratic ads accurately describe the staunch anti-abortion stances of their Republican targets. But others use slippery phrases and the power of innuendo to promote the impression that some Republican candidates have taken more aggressive anti-abortion positions than those candidates actually do.

Some ads try to make it appear that Republicans who support exemptions for rape, incest and maternal life are opposed to these exemptions. Other ads try to make Republicans who have opposed the idea of ​​a federal ban on abortion appear to support the federal ban.

Here are the ads for the four Republican candidates for the House of Representatives. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list; we haven’t seen the many abortion ads that have been going around the country.

An October ad attacking Illinois’ 17th District Republican candidate Esther Joy King said, “Esther Joy King also supports Republicans who want a national abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest.”

Although the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s ad was correct, King described himself as “unapologetically pro-life” and praise The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. To discredit Wade, the ad failed to mention that King had said in August that he supported exceptions to rape, incest and the life of the mother. And during a debate the night before the ad was released, King also said he opposes the federal ban on abortion.

The DCCC’s phrasing – King with “Republicans who want” a national abortion ban with no rape or incest exceptions – allowed the ad to avoid the fact that King himself wants a national abortion ban with no rape or incest exceptions. But the ad did not admit that King has taken a public stand against the proposals the ad supports.

A lawyer for King’s campaign sent a letter to TV stations asking them to stop airing the ad, saying the DCCC was “making sure” against King by “deliberately misrepresenting” his position. CNN could not determine how each station responded.

The ad about DCCC spokeswoman Helen Kalla King and the DCCC ad about two other Republican candidates, Marc Molinaro and April Becker, are covered by CNN later in this article. Kalla argued that Republicans are “inevitably trying to mislead voters about their positions.”

An ad the DCCC released in mid-September said Marc Molinaro, the Republican candidate for New York’s 19th district, would support “politicians who support a nationwide abortion ban.” The text that appears on the screen: “MARC MOLINARO”, “POLICIES THAT PROHIBIT ABORTION INTERNATIONALLY”, “EVEN FOR VICTIMS OF RAPE AND INCEST”.

But Molinaro has said he opposes a national abortion ban and supports exceptions for rape and incest.

Molinaro describes himself as “personally pro-life” and generally opposes abortion after 17 weeks. But he said in an August debate that he would not support a nationwide ban, explaining that “I don’t think there’s a role for Congress” under the Supreme Court’s Roe v. to invalidate Wade. (He said there should be “thoughtful limits” on late-term abortions at the state level.) At another event in August, Molinaro said of abortion: “I don’t support imposing the federal will on the states.” And at a third event in August, according to radio station WSKG, he said he supports exemptions for “mother’s life, rape and incest,” including after 17 weeks.

We cannot definitively verify what Molinaro would be do it if elected, and this ad was written to directly avoid the fact that Molinaro himself wants a ban on abortion at the national level, without the exception of rape and incest. But like the anti-King ad in Illinois, the anti-Molinaro ad did not acknowledge that the candidate opposes those proposals.

Molinaro’s campaign attorney sent a letter to television stations asking them to stop airing the ad. The letter stated that it is not true that Molinaro would support politicians who support a nationwide abortion ban, adding that “the ad does not cite or otherwise support this false claim.” CNN could not determine how each station responded.

The ad was verified in late September by the Albany Times Union. The Times Union reported that in the 2018 race for governor of New York, Molinaro supported the general idea of ​​passing New York state legislation to codify abortion rights, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Even if it overruled Wade, the court doubted it would. therefore, and further said, as the DCCC announcement correctly stated, that it did not support the particular codification project that state legislators were considering at the time.

Molinaro campaign manager Will Dawson said in an email to CNN that Democrats are telling “lies” about Molinaro.

A DCCC ad released in mid-September identified April Becker, the Republican candidate for Nevada’s 3rd District, as one of the Nevada House candidates who “want to join Republicans in Congress in seeking to ban abortion nationwide, including in Nevada.”

Although Becker wants to be part of the Congressional Republican Caucus, the ad failed to mention that he has repeatedly pledged to vote against the federal abortion ban.

In an interview published five days before the DCCC began airing the ad, NBC News told Becker that he would “absolutely not” vote for the abortion ban in the House because he believes the ban enacted by Congress “would be unconstitutional.” This was not a new position for him. He also said in a July interview on Nevada Newsmakers that he believed a federal ban on abortion “would be unconstitutional,” and (in his reading) that since the Supreme Court said abortion is a matter for the states to decide, “I don’t see how we can accept it in good faith.” a law that you can a law in Congress that takes it away from the states.’ previously verified another abortion-related DCCC ad about Becker.

Meanwhile, an ad released last week by House Majority PAC, the main outside spending entity for Democrats’ House races, features a narrator who says Becker is endorsed by “extremists” who would support a nationwide abortion ban. rape, incest or the life of the mother.”

But the DCCC’s Becker investigative file also says that Becker himself has publicly expressed support for the three exemptions, including on his website during the Republican primaries.

“Becker’s website has never changed on this issue,” Jeremy Hughes, general counsel for the Becker campaign, told CNN last week.

When the House Majority PAC ad mentioned that Becker was endorsed by anti-abortion “extremists,” Susan B. Anthony of Pro-Life America told CNN last week that it supports different types of anti-abortion legislation in different jurisdictions. Including Sen. Lindsey Graham’s recently proposed 15-week ban, which includes three exemptions, and supporting anti-abortion candidates who support all three exemptions.

The group also supports much stricter anti-abortion laws than Graham’s proposal, including legislation that does not include the three exemptions. But again: Becker accepts these exceptions.

A House Majority PAC ad released in late September targeted George Logan, the Republican candidate for Connecticut’s 5th District. The ad said, “Washington Republicans are talking about banning abortion nationwide, including in Connecticut, and George Logan would help them — by voting for the Republican leadership they’ve promised to do.”

The ad failed to mention that Logan himself has repeatedly expressed support for abortion rights and opposition to a national abortion ban.

More than a week before the ad was released, the CT Mirror reported that Logan said, “I don’t support a national ban. I think it should be up to the states. Here in Connecticut, we’ve codified a woman’s right to choose. That’s what I support.” CT Insider reported that Logan said of abortion in a July interview that “I think it should be safe, legal, and most importantly rare,” adding in July that he is “opposed to late-term abortions,” but later said in the interview that he also supports those abortions for medical reasons. accepted them.

In an October interview with the CT Examiner, Logan said he supports parental notification policies when minors seek abortions. But he also said: “I support a woman’s right to choose, but I think it should be safe, legal and rare. I don’t support late term abortions for the sake of convenience. I’m not talking about when there’s a medical emergency or anything like that.’

Again, we can’t definitively state what Logan would do in office. And once again, this ad was written to avoid explicitly saying that Logan himself wants a nationwide abortion ban. But the ad certainly failed to acknowledge that Logan has repeatedly spoken out in favor of the right to abortion in most cases.

House Majority PAC has withheld ads about Logan and Becker. Communications Director CJ Warnke argued in an email to CNN that both candidates are supported by anti-abortion extremists and will “wholeheartedly support efforts by Kevin McCarthy and Republican leadership to implement a nationwide abortion ban.”

Liz Kurantowicz, general counsel for the Logan campaign, said in an email that Democrats are trying to take a “one-size-fits-all” approach to the campaign, though “that doesn’t work against George Logan.” He said, “For Democrats, the inconvenient truth is that George has a long record of supporting a woman’s right to choose.”