AD WATCH | Evaluating the accuracy of political advertising
Ad Watch: Kerry Hit on Abortion, Contraception
Friday, July 16, 2004; Page A09
Candidate: President Bush
Images: Young girl pouring milk in a kitchen; John Kerry speaking; a girl playing on a suburban porch; another boarding a school bus.
Time: 30 seconds
Audio: When it comes to issues that affect our families, are John Kerry’s priorities the same as yours? Kerry voted against parental notification for teenage abortions. Kerry even voted to allow schools to hand out the “morning-after” pill without parents’ knowledge. He voted to take control away from parents by taking away their right to know.
John Kerry has his priorities. The question is, are they yours?
Analysis: This ad, with a female narrator, continues the president’s “values” assault against Kerry and tries to frame the abortion issue in a way that makes him appear insensitive to parents.
Kerry in 1991 voted against a Republican amendment to force clinics to notify parents when a minor seeks an abortion. But he voted for a Democratic amendment to allow adults other than the parents to determine whether a girl was mature enough to decide on her own. Kerry says he, like the American Medical Association, opposes mandatory notification because it could put some girls at risk of abuse, family violence, late-term abortions or unwanted childbirth, and that his approach allows judicial exceptions with the consent of other relatives and the girl’s doctor.
In 2000, Kerry voted to kill an amendment barring federal funds for distributing the “morning-after” contraceptive pill on school grounds. Kerry says schools should be able to provide such contraception to girls who are victims of rape or incest or not covered by insurance.
In both cases the votes cited are accurate and Kerry’s explanations, however well argued, are complicated.
The Bush camp also released a radio ad, airing on African American stations in seven cities from Philadelphia to Cleveland, that repeats these charges and recycles others in attacking Kerry’s “extreme voting record.” The spot follows a Kerry television ad targeted at black voters, but Bush strategists say that unlike the senator they are not tailoring separate messages to different groups.
— Howard Kurtz
© 2004 The Washington Post Company