As Republican-led states around the country have raced to outlaw abortion in recent months, Democratic politicians compared those efforts to conservatives trying to dictate what people are legally allowed to do in their bedrooms.
But a new ad running in several key districts around the country takes that idea even further by showing a GOP congressman in a couple’s bedroom during their intimate moments.
The semi-not-safe-for-work advertisement, titled “Republicans in Your Bedroom,” starts with a couple in bed. As the man reaches into the bedside table for a condom, he is stopped by a white-haired man in a suit who apologetically tells the couple that they “can’t use those.”
Confused, the woman asks, “What are you talking about? Who are you?”
“I’m your Republican congressman,” the man says. “Now that we’re in charge, we’re banning birth control.”
“This is our decision,” the woman, visibly frustrated, says. “Not yours. Get out of our bedroom.”
“I won the last election, I’m not going anywhere,” the congressman replies. “I’m just going to watch and make sure you don’t do anything illegal.”
The six-figure ad buy, paid for by the liberal super PAC Progress Action Fund, is the first in a series of ads targeting a trio of Republicans in competitive districts. They are Representatives Ken Calvert and Mike Garcia in California and Representative Steve Chabot, who represents a largely suburban district outside of Cincinnati. All three GOP candidates, the PAC says, inhabit districts likely to be decided by single margins. And all three have held hard-line positions opposing abortion.
The goal, Progress Action Fund founder and director Joe Jacobson said, is to illustrate that attacks on abortion and contraception aren’t just policy choices but are also personal ones that directly interfere with the most private choices. While so far there has been no federal effort to outlaw birth control, all three Republicans have voted against legislation to protect abortion rights. Activists are increasingly concerned that Republicans could go after contraception next.
In June, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion when Roe v. Wade was overturned in which he said the Court should “reconsider” similarly decided legal precedents involving same-sex marriage and contraception. And while the GOP has said birth control is off the table, a Kaiser Health News fact check in August found that an increasing body of evidence from state legislatures indicates many Republicans support outlawing some forms of contraception.
“Republican leaders on the Supreme Court and in the House have made it crystal clear that the right to birth control is on the chopping block,” Jacobson said. “Republicans are obsessed with telling every American what they can and cannot do in their own bedroom. The GOP should really stand for ‘Grand Old Perverts.'”
The ads are also expected to fuel lingering concerns about candidates like Calvert and Garcia as they have sought to distance themselves from their previous positions on abortion ahead of their contentious races this fall.
Garcia, for instance, once signed on to an amicus brief supporting the overturning of Roe, as well as federal personhood legislation banning abortions at conception, Jacobson said. In recent weeks, however, the congressman has begun moving away from that position, saying that he wants exemptions for rape and incest and to save the life of the mother.
Notably, the personhood bill he co-sponsored, Jacobson told Newsweek, contains no exceptions for either scenario.
“We’re really trying to highlight his hypocrisy as well as others who have changed their position around abortion,” he said.
Newsweek has contacted Garcia’s campaign