McCaskill releases series of attack ads featuring sexual assault victims

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is releasing a new set of ads featuring victims of sexual assault who criticize Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) position on contraception.

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McCaskill's reelection campaign announced Wednesday that it would release three new ads, each featuring a different testimonial from a sexual assault victim. The ads hit McCaskill's Senate challenger for saying that the female body has ways of terminating pregnancies that are the result of "legitimate rape" as well as Akin's opposition to emergency contraception.

"I'm a Republican and a pro-life mother and a rape survivor. In the hospital, I was offered emergency contraception," Diana, one of the victims, says in one of the ads. "Because of my personal beliefs, I declined. Here's what else I believe: no woman should be denied that choice. What Todd Akin said is offensive, but what he believes is worse. He would criminalize emergency contraception. I've never voted for Claire McCaskill, but because of Todd Akin, I will now."

The 30-second ads are running statewide in Missouri. The ad campaign also includes a 60-second ad featuring Diana.

Since Akin made the "legitimate rape" comment in August, McCaskill has sought to gain an advantage in the close race for her Senate seat through highlighting the controversial remark. Initially, Republicans abandoned Akin and encouraged him to drop out of the race in response to his comment. But after Akin passed a crucial deadline for dropping out, Republicans began to rally support around him again.

McCaskill is hoping to utilize the comment, as well as another one in which Akin said, "we just shouldn't have abortion in this country," to paint her opponent as an extremist on women's rights.

"What matters to Missouri women is not what Todd Akin said about rape, it’s that he believes rape survivors should not have access to emergency contraception, whether they opt to take it or not," McCaskill campaign manager Adrianne Marsh said in a statement.

The McCaskill announcement on the ads notes that the three women featured, Diana, Rachel and Joanie, have all become public advocates for survivors of sexual assault.