Democratic House candidate produces graphic anti-abortion-rights ad

An anti-abortion-rights advocate running in the Democratic primary against Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.) has posted an ad that accuses Ellison of voting “to fund the slaughter of babies” and calls Planned Parenthood a “criminal syndicate.”

The ad is part of a national campaign run by longtime anti-abortion-rights activist Randall Terry, with the goal not to win elections but to get graphic ads on television showing pictures of aborted fetuses.

The latest anti-abortion-rights ad is from Gary Boisclair, who is running as a Democrat against Ellison in Minnesota’s most liberal congressional district. He’s one of a dozen candidates Terry hopes to recruit across the country to run similar ad campaigns.

In an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Terry said he isn’t trying to win elections.

“That’s not the point,” he said.

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Instead, Terry’s candidates — recruited through his Society for Truth and Justice — are taking advantage of Federal Election Commission rules stating that federal candidates must be given equal access to airtime if they abide by indecency and obscenity standards. A District of Columbia appellate court ruled in 1996 that ads depicting aborted fetuses did not violate the standards.

The ads are designing to shock viewers into opposing abortion, Terry said.

Some candidates are running as Democrats and some as Republicans. In the 2010 election, Missy Smith, a Republican running for D.C.’s non-voting House seat, raised about $60,000 and aired similar ads in the Washington metro area during nightly news and other network programs.

Boisclair, who grew up in Minnesota but hasn’t lived in the state since 2003, has not aired ads on TV or filed any reports with the FEC yet. The first ad he produced, which attacked Ellison for being Muslim, was pulled from YouTube, and the second one is hosted online by Media Research Center TV.

Ellison released a fundraising pitch Thursday in response to the ad, saying that he's “a proud advocate of a woman’s right to choose as well as access to reproductive health care, but I need your support to respond to these shameless attacks.”

— This story was updated at 2:45 p.m.