PAF in NBC News: Democratic group targets Ohio and Pennsylvania with provocative abortion rights ad

NBC News
NBC News

Progress Action Fund, a Democratic group known for its provocative videos, will target Ohio and Pennsylvania with a 30-second ad depicting a Republican member of Congress inside a hospital room denying an abortion for a 12-year-old rape victim.

The spot is titled “Republicans Watching Your Daughter” and is part of a planned six-figure advertising push targeting Ohio and Pennsylvania, the group announced Tuesday.

“They’ll put us all in prison if we do the procedure,” a doctor tells the pleading father in the ad.

A man who identifies himself as “your Republican congressman” then confirms the response.

“I won the last election,” the GOP lawmaker continues. “So it’s my decision. I’m just going to watch your daughter and make sure she doesn’t do anything illegal.”

The spot is similar in theme to a racy ad earlier this year from Progress Action Fund in which a couple reaching for a condom is interrupted from their lovemaking by a GOP congressman threatening to ban birth control and watch to make sure “you don’t do anything illegal.” 

That ad went viral and earned free media coverage ahead of an August special election in Ohio for a ballot measure that would have raised the threshold of votes required to change the state constitution, ahead of a November ballot issue about enshrining abortion rights in the state constitution.

The August measure failed, and proponents of reproductive rights are now focused on the fall campaign, known as Issue 1. Out of the nearly $900,000 spent on advertising around the abortion amendment since the special election, more than $800,000 has been spent by Democratic groups, according to AdImpact, an ad-tracking firm.

The new Progress Action Fund ad is also aimed at voters in Pennsylvania, where a state Supreme Court race this fall is seen as a preview of how voters in the electoral battleground will react to a post-Roe v. Wade environment. A seat up for grabs in 2021 went to the Republican, in a race decided by fewer than 25,000 votes.

The ad will air on connected and streaming TV and online.

“Republicans keep losing elections because they refuse to recognize that the American people strongly believe in reproductive freedom,” Progress Action Fund founder and executive director Joe Jacobson said. “Voters have made it clear that they do not want Republican politicians invading their bedrooms, their doctors offices, or controlling their lives.”

By Henry J. Gomez