Republicans in Tampa this week are seeking to downplay Rep. Todd Akin’s comments about abortion in the case of “legitimate” rape, but the ACLU and the interest group Stand With Servicewomen are running abortion-rights TV ads there this week featuring military-service members.
Stand With Servicewomen supports an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., that would allow military women and their dependents to receive insurance coverage on abortions in cases of rape or incest. Currently, military women must pay out of pocket for such procedures.
The ads also will be shown in Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention next week and will run about 150 to 175 times in all, according to Mark Longabaugh, whose media firm produced the spots. The ads cost $35,000 in total.
The Shaheen amendment is expected to come up for debate in the fall, when the ads will run again in the states of legislators whose votes are crucial to its passing.
Iraq war veteran Capt. Shannon Clark testifies in one video, “I am denied abortion care, even if I am the victim of rape.”
The second video is narrated by Lt. Gen. Robert Gard Jr. in front of the U.S. Capitol. “Over 250,000 women have served our country with honor and courage in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet our servicewomen are denied coverage for abortion even if they are raped,” Gard says in the spot.