Friday, October 31st, 2014

Ad Watch: Kaine attacks Allen on abortion and birth control

Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine began airing this ad on Oct. 22.

Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen are airing new TV ads making their closing arguments for election to the U.S. Senate.

PolitiFact Virginia has previously examined many of the claims in the commercials and we’d like to share our findings.

We’ll start today with a Kaine ad that criticizes Allen for being insensitive to women on birth control and abortion.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at ads by Allen and two GOP groups -- the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Crossroads GPS -- that criticize Kaine on taxes, his support of Obamacare and his backing of a 2011 deal to raise the national debt limit.


Kaine’s ad shows a woman facing the camera as the narrator says, "This is Virginia. George Allen would restrict her choices." The 30-second spot  then makes a series of charges.

Kaine claim: "(Allen) would take away her Constitutional rights by reversing Roe V. Wade."

In back-up materials, the Kaine campaign cites Allen’s Senate vote against a 2003 amendment that would have issued a "sense of the Senate" saying the Supreme Court should not overturn its 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision saying a woman has a qualified right to an abortion.

Our colleagues at PolitiFact National recently examined a claim by Planned Parenthood that  Allen and GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney would "overturn Roe v. Wade."

Allen’s campaign did not respond to a PolitiFact inquiry on whether he’s interested in overturning Roe v. Wade. Allen’s website does not mention the landmark ruling, but says the candidate’s "commitment to protecting innocent human life is firm" and that he opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest and when it’s necessary to save the life of the mother. The website also notes Allen earned a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee when he was in the Senate from 2001-2007.

PolitiFact noted senators can’t directly overturn Supreme Court decisions but added there’s strong evidence that Allen would vote to confirm an anti-Roe nominee to the court if given an opportunity. Planned Parenthood’s statement on Allen and Romney was rated Half True.

Kaine claim: "(Allen would) let employers deny Virginia insurance for preventative care and birth control."

Kaine points to Allen’s position on a measure sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., that would have eased an Obamacare mandate that newly-qualified employer-provided health care plans cover birth control and other preventative care with no out-of-pocket costs to the patient. The rule included a limited exception for certain religious institutions.

Blunt’s amendment would have allowed employers to be exempt from providing any service that violated their "beliefs or moral convictions." The measure was tabled in a 51 to 48 vote.

Kaine cites an article from The Washington Post quoting Allen campaign spokeswoman Katie Wright saying Allen supported the amendment.

"While George Allen does not support banning contraceptives, Americans in this instance should not be forced to choose between following a government mandate or adhering to their own deeply held religious beliefs," Wright told the newspaper.

Kaine claim:  "When legislators tried to impose invasive ultrasounds on pregnant women, Allen was silent."

This refers to a General Assembly bill earlier this year that would have required Virginia women to undergo vaginal ultrasounds and view the images before getting an abortion.

The vaginal ultrasound requirement was scrapped from the law, which ultimately required an external sonogram before an abortion.

A February article in The Hill newspaper said Allen "carefully avoided taking a position on the ultrasound bill." The article quoted Allen campaign spokeswoman Wright saying "we’re not going to take a position on every bill moving through the General Assembly."

We can find no record of Allen taking a position in the invasive ultrasound debate.