NARAL Launches New Ad Attacking John Roberts on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 29, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

NARAL Launches New Ad Attacking John Roberts on Abortion Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 29, 2005

Washington, DC ( — After intense national criticism from both sides of the abortion debate forced NARAL to pull a prior television ad blasting Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, the leading abortion advocacy group has unveiled a new commercial intended to develop opposition to his nomination.

The prior NARAL ad featured a victim of an abortion business bombing and tried to paint Roberts as a supporter of abortion-related violence. However, elected officials and even a public policy center at the University of Pennsylvania condemned the ad as biased and inaccurate.

The new ad takes a less confrontation approach, but accuses Roberts of wanting to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling that ushered in an era of unlimited abortions.

Roberts previously wrote a legal memo when he worked for the former Bush administration in which he said Roe was bad law and should be overturned. NARAL points to the memo in the ad.

Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, says the NARAL ad is surprising because it fails to mention the word abortion.

"NARAL was afraid to even mention the word ‘abortion’ in their ad, because they know that the majority of Americans favor much greater protections for unborn children, including a ban on partial-birth abortion," he said.

"John Roberts dismisses one of our established liberties as the ‘so-called right to privacy’ and co-wrote a brief arguing that Roe v. Wade should be overruled," the ad says. "There is just too much at stake to let John Roberts become a decisive vote on the Supreme Court."

In 1990, Roberts served as an assistant in the solicitor general’s office and wrote, "We continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled."

Johnson said the new NARAL ad is also erroneous because Roberts, if he agrees with overturning Roe, would not be the decisive vote.

Before Justice Sanda Day O’Connor’s retirement, the court favored Roe by a 6-3 majority. Should Roberts replace O’Connor and vote to overturn Roe, the court would still favor the landmark abortion decision 5-4.

Criticism of its previous television commercial led a NARAL’s communications director to resign. This time around, the group submitted a list of sources for quotes in the ad for reporters to verify.

"We have vetted the ad through our coalition partners, friends on the Hill, and various legal experts," NARAL said in a private email to fellow abortion advocates and pro-abortion politicians, according to the New York Times.

Steve Schmidt, a White House spokesman, said ”NARAL discredited itself with its first ad run during the nominating process, which will go down in the annals of political advertising as one of the most dishonest and rancid ads ever run."

The 30-second ad is airing nationally on CNN and local stations in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia.

Related web sites:
National Right to Life –