Barack Obama’s Campaign Sought to Exploit Rape Victim to Attack on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 29, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Barack Obama’s Campaign Sought to Exploit Rape Victim to Attack on Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 29
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — A new scandal has erupted for the campaign of presidential candidate Barack Obama and it involves the issue of abortion. New reports indicate Obama’s campaign asked an anti-domestic violence group to find a rape victim to attack John McCain and Sarah Palin on abortion or the so-called rape kit hubbub.

The controversy may cause some women voters to charge that Obama’s campaign unfairly sought to exploit a rape victim for political gain.

The news web site Politico brings the scandal to light today and says it obtained an email about how the Obama camp contacted domestic violence groups to find a rape victim to use in its commercial.

Kiersten Steward, director of public policy at the Family Violence Prevention Fund and a former top aid to pro-abortion Congressman Maurice Hinchey of New York, apparently served as a liaison between the Obama camp and the groups.

"Obviously, this is a big ask and I haven’t seen a script but presumably it will be a brief ‘this is what happened to me, we need someone who will fight for women like me, these are the guys to do it,’" Steward wrote in a September 15 email Politico obtained.

The email went on to say the Obama camp would have a film crew in Washington to film the rape victim and the ad.

Politico contacted the Obama campaign and spokesman Bill Burton wouldn’t comment on the potential ad or exploiting a rape victim to promote his candidacy.

"Choice is an important issue, and we’re going to continue talking about it in battleground states through the election," Burton said in an email.

The statement makes it appear the ad would likely have challenged McCain and Palin on the issue of abortion while trying to appeal to women voters and former supporters of Hillary Clinton. contacted both the Obama and McCain campaigns for an update on the story and has not received a response.

Politico also found a rape victim whom the Obama campaign eventually contacted, but declined to appear in an ad — Virginia resident Mikele Shelton-Knight, who is a victim rights advocate now.

Shelton-Knight said the potential subject of the commercial was never discussed but she indicated it could focus on the bogus rape kit controversy targeting McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Palin has been falsely blamed for a policy of making women pay for rape kits when she served as the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. However, the charge has been disproved.

Shelton-Knight told Politico that the criticism of Palin is unfounded and unfair because most cities across the nation had the same policy until a recent trend of trying to get government to pay for them.

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.