Exclusive: Conservative group targets vulnerable Democrats over abortion

Conservative ad on abortion
Susan B. Anthony List

A conservative anti-abortion group is launching a six-figure ad campaign targeting Democratic senators and House members in battleground states tying them to President Biden’s decision to leave a longstanding ban on federal funding for most abortions out of his 2022 budget proposal.

Susan B. Anthony List, a conservative group focused on abortion issues, will spend six figures on digital ads targeting Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), who both face reelection in 2022.

The ads also target vulnerable House Democrats, including Reps. Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.), Carolyn Bourdeaux (Ga.), Cindy Axne (Iowa), Elissa Slotkin (Mich.), Haley Stevens (Mich.) and Ron Kind (Wis.).

The ads, which were obtained first by The Hill, accuse the lawmakers of aiming to “overturn decades of bipartisan consensus that taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for abortions.”

“Pro-abortion Democrats seeking to repeal Hyde and force Americans to pay for abortions do so at their own political peril,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. “For decades, the Hyde family of pro-life policies have protected Americans from paying for abortions, with the Hyde Amendment itself saving nearly 2.5 million lives. Time and again the polls show Hyde isn’t just effective, it is popular: a strong majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion and want to humanize our laws.”

News of the ad launch comes as Congress prepares to dive into the budgeting process, where Biden’s exclusion of the Hyde Amendment will be a major focus for some conservatives in particular. 

The White House’s budget proposal does not include the Hyde Amendment, which was first passed in 1976 and has been included in annual spending bills in the decades since. The budget amendment restricts abortion coverage for those receiving Medicare or Medicaid, as well as federal employees and servicewomen.

A January poll from Marist and Knights of Columbus found 77 percent of Americans opposed using taxpayer money to promote abortion overseas, and 58 percent oppose using taxpayer money to fund abortion in the U.S.

Biden for decades supported the Hyde Amendment while serving as a senator. But he faced criticism over that support while campaigning for president, prompting him to reverse course.

“If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s ZIP code,” Biden said in 2019 after coming under fire from other presidential candidates.

Abortion rights advocates applauded Biden for excluding the Hyde Amendment from the White House’s proposed budget, saying the decision will help ensure women in low-income areas have access to the procedure.

Tags Abortion ad campaign biden administration Cindy Axne Elissa Slotkin Haley Stevens Hyde Amendment Joe Biden Mark Kelly Raphael Warnock Ron Kind

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