With Senate Up for Grabs, Abortion Groups Get Focused

With a number of vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection this November – many of whom rode into office on the 2010 Tea Party wave during a low voter turnout year – the conditions couldn’t be riper for a potential Democratic takeover in the Senate. Now, special interest groups on both sides of the abortion debate are throwing their weight even harder into the battle, and two states are their latest focus.

For NARAL Pro-Choice America, tipping the the scale against Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio is a no-brainer. As a swing state with a heavy Hispanic demographic, Florida is already a key battleground in the presidential race as Republican nominee Donald Trump attempts to woo voters who are far more likely to be negatively impacted by his anti-immigration policies than in many other areas. Meanwhile, Rubio is trying to win a tight reelection race, despite declaring during his own presidential campaign that he had no interest in remaining a senator anymore, even if he lost the GOP primary.

Now, Rubio is in a tough spot, trying to reassure conservative Florida voters that he’s still their guy, while keeping his distance from the troubled Trump campaign threatening to bring him down. Even harder for the far right politician – his state is in the middle of a healthcare crisis over Zika, the mosquito-borne illness that can cause debilitating birth defects – and he’s still refusing to accept the idea of allowing abortions in the case of a fetal anomalies.

That’s the soft spot that NARAL is pushing with a new ad campaign targeting the Tea Party senator. “The attack against Rubio comes from women’s rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America, which is spending $175,000 on a TV ad in Orlando and West Palm Beach beginning today, according to Politico,” Raw Story reports. “’Marco Rubio voted against funding health clinics that provide critical care during this public health emergency,’ the ad alleges. ‘And Marco Rubio continues to be against a woman’s right to choose an abortion, even if they are infected with the Zika virus.’”

With most Americans in favor of allowing those who have Zika the ability to abort a pregnancy if that is their choice, and the polls showing a literal dead heat between Rubio and his Democratic challenger, Rep. Patrick Murphy, NARAL no doubt hopes this talking point could be the one that officially puts Murphy in the seat come January – and gives Democrats the majority.

While one abortion rights group is trying to take out a GOP senator, an anti-abortion group is hoping to keep a different endangered Tea Party senator in office, despite a very tough challenge from the very man he unseated six years earlier. The Wisconsin Senate race between GOP Sen. Ron Johnson and former Democratic Senator Russ Feingold is a rematch between the same two politicians who duked it out in 2010. Now, after six years in office, it is Johnson who is trailing, and Feingold appears poised to regain his old seat.

Supporting Johnson in his attempt to win reelection is the National Right to Life Committee, whose PAC arm has released a flyer comparing the two on the abortion issue. “Russ Feingold supports a policy of abortion on demand, which allows abortion for any reason,” it declares, adding, “Russ Feingold said that when a baby is born alive during an abortion, it should be up to the woman (with advice from the abortion doctor) to decide whether the baby should be killed.”

Johnson, on the other hand, according to NRLC, “…is pro-life. He opposes abortion on demand, and supports protection for unborn children,” and “voted to repeal the Obamacare law. He is committed to reversing the abortion-expanding and rationing effects of that law.”

For a Wisconsin race that appears far more focused on national security, the environment and oddly enough whether presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is “trustworthy” or not, it’s not clear whether the abortion issue is actually going to do anything to move the needle in Johnson’s direction. But if it does, you can be sure he will have the NRLC to thank.

Photo credit: Robin Marty

90 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

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Marie W.
Marie W1 years ago

Pass ERA.

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Deborah W.
Deborah W1 years ago

FINALLY, all the bullshit, fodder-smear over important issues clearing away, getting to the differences loud and clear. FOR or AGAINST is pretty basic, where it's at, and with conditions ripe for a takeover in the Senate pols are rightfully anxious, remaining in their playground, hoping we're a as dumb as they think we are. Guess we'll just have to wait until the election to see who was right..

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Jen S.
Jen S1 years ago

Rubio is entitled to his opinion only as long as it is only his opinion and not the law. I would no ,ore allow Rubio or Ryan or any other pontificating ideologue to legislate a personal decision than I would vote for Trump. Keep choice legal.
,..

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Arlene C.
Arlene C1 years ago

Merci Robin

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Wendi M.
Wendi M1 years ago

TYFS

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Janis K.
Janis K1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Leo Custer
Leo Custer1 years ago

Thank you for posting

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Leo Custer
Leo Custer1 years ago

Thank you for posting!

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