O’Rourke’s first campaign ads of cycle focus on abortion
Texas Democratic gubernatorial nominee and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke released his first ads of the general election campaign cycle on Thursday, focusing on Texas’s stringent abortion restrictions on the same day the state’s trigger law takes effect.
One ad shows a series of women blaming Gov. Greg Abbott (R), O’Rourke’s opponent, for the law, stating that they are no longer free to make decisions about their own body and noting that the law does not include exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
“Women will die because of it,” the ad states. “All because of Greg Abbott’s abortion law.”
The ad states that O’Rourke “will give women our freedom back.”
Another ad shows a wife, identified as a lifelong Democrat, and a husband, identified as a lifelong Republican, saying that Abbott’s abortion law is the “most extreme” in the country.
The wife references a University of Texas at Austin poll that showed only 11 percent of respondents said they supported providing no exception in cases of incest. The poll also showed that only 13 percent said they supported no exceptions in cases of rape.
“This is a free country,” the husband says. “We need a governor who gets that.”
The Texas Tribune reported that the ads will air in seven markets during a Houston Texans preseason NFL game on Thursday and a Dallas Cowboys game on Friday.
A spokesperson for Abbott’s campaign pointed to an ad and release accusing O’Rourke of not supporting any limitations on abortion, including third-trimester abortions.
Texas previously had a six-week abortion ban in effect since before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
The trigger law only permits exceptions to save the life of the mother and makes performing an abortion otherwise a felony. Doctors who perform them can face up to life in prison.
O’Rourke’s ads come as Democrats may be seeing increased enthusiasm from their voters in the aftermath of Roe’s overturn.
Democrat Pat Ryan won a special election for New York’s 19th Congressional District on Tuesday in what was considered a possible bellwether race for the November midterm elections. Ryan campaigned heavily on abortion rights in the swing district, while his Republican opponent focused on the economy.
Democrats are hoping passion to defend abortion rights can help them avoid or minimize the historical trend that usually sees the president’s party lose seats in Congress during the midterm elections.
—Updated at 12:59 p.m.