Campaign Finance

Abortion issue hits airwaves

Rachael Marcus Aug 28, 2012

An anti-abortion group released an ad featuring an “abortion survivor” accusing then-Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama of voting to “deny basic, constitutional protections for babies born alive from an abortion.”

The nonprofit Susan B. Anthony List ad references the fracas that surrounded President Obama’s voting record on a bill that would protect babies that have survived abortions.

How Will You Answer?” features Melissa Ohden.

“I’m going to tell you something you may not know. Many children, more than you might think, actually survived failed abortions and are born alive,” Ohden says. “I know, because I’m one of them.”

How Will You Answer? will air in Missouri at a cost of $150,000. Women’s rights have consumed the public conversation following remarks about “legitimate rape” made by the state’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, Todd Akin.

Ohden refers to Obama’s votes in the Illinois State Senate against the Illinois Born Alive Protection Act in 2001, an issue first brought to national attention in 2008 by nurse-turned-activist Jill Stanek.

The ad implies Obama would leave babies who survive abortions to die, which is inaccurate. Obama voted against the act, but noted Illinois state law requires physicians to use life-saving measures should an aborted fetus in fact be born alive.

Obama maintained that his primary opposition to the state bill — of which the U.S. Congress passed a federal version in 2002 — was that it undermines Roe v. Wade and a women’s right to choose.

Furthermore, according to Illinois news media, there was no evidence that babies born alive after failed abortions were being left to die.

But Stanek, the anti-abortion nurse-activist, testified that she saw babies being abandoned to die at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill. did its own analysis of the claims in 2008.

The Susan B. Anthony List is a “social welfare” nonprofit, so it is not required to disclose its donors. In 2010, the most recent records available, the group reported raising $7 million.

The organization has spent almost $800,000 this election cycle, more than half of that supporting failed Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The group spent an additional $188,000 opposing Obama.

In other outside spending news:

  • The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, a nonprofit, released an anti-Tim Kaine ad, “Stand for Freedom, Stand against Tim Kaine.” The former governor is running for U.S. Senate from Virginia. The $181,000 buy is the group’s first independent expenditure in the 2012 election.
  • The NRA Institute for Legislative Action also hit Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., with “Nelson Needs to Go.”
  • Thank you, Paul Ryan!” from the political action committee Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama praises Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan.
  • Pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action airs its own “disappointed voters” ad. After a spate of pro-Romney groups produced ads featuring former Obama voters, “Olive” highlights a Massachusetts small business owner’s disillusionment with Romney, the state’s former governor. The ad is airing in Florida, Colorado, Ohio and Virginia and is part of a $30 million campaign by the super PAC.
  • Democratic super PAC House Majority PAC released a series of ads targeting U.S. House races. “Something’s Not Right” criticizes John Koster’s “love affair with Rush Limbaugh.” Koster is the Republican candidate for U.S. House in Washington’s 1st District and will face Microsoft executive and Democrat Suzan DelBene in November.
  • Hurt” from House Majority PAC opposes North Carolina state Sen. David Rouzer, a Republican running for U.S. House in the state’s 7th District against Rep. Mike McIntyre.
  • Resume” from House Majority PAC opposes Mia Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, who is the Republican candidate for U.S. House in Utah’s 4th District. Love faces incumbent Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson.
  • We Still Do” from the 60 Plus Association, a conservative nonprofit, features senior citizens arguing health care reform is still needed. The ad opposes Kaine, who is running against former U.S. Sen. George Allen, the Republican nominee.
  • Liberal super PAC American Bridge 21st Century’s new video, the “Romney-Ryan Bromance: You Complete Me” seeks to highlight the similarities between Romney’s platform and Ryan’s politics.
  • New super PACsLadies First Super PAC and the Latino District Defense Fund, both of Dallas.
  • Political Action reported spending $116,000 on ads opposing Romney.

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