Newspaper: Planned Parenthood Ad on McCain and Palin "Distorts Record"

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 2, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Newspaper: Planned Parenthood Ad on McCain, Palin "Distorts Record" on Women

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 2
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — A new television commercial from Planned Parenthood blasting John McCain and Sarah Palin is already coming under criticism from the mainstream media. The St. Petersburg Times, a Florida newspaper, says the ad distorts the record on the two candidates and their record on women.

The ad features a woman named Gretchen who appears to be a rape victim and she tells the audience "I just didn’t think it would happen to me."

"Under Mayor Sarah Palin, women like Gretchen were forced to pay up to $1,200 for the emergency exams used to prosecute their attackers," the Planned Parenthood ad claims.

It goes further to attack Senator McCain, claiming he "voted to let governments charge rape victims." exposed the misleading nature of the ad on Wednesday and focused on Planned Parenthood’s shoddy treatment of Palin.

The Times takes on the phony charges against McCain.

The Planned Parenthood ad attributes the McCain allegation to a vote on August 25, 1994 on a crime bill that included the Violence Against Women Act. The measure included a provision that required states to provide free forensic exams for rape victims.

Planned Parenthood’s logic is that because McCain opposed that bill, he voted to let governments charge victims for their rape kits.

"That’s quite a stretch," the Times responds.

"Indeed, McCain voted that day against a conference report on the crime bill, but he opposed it not because of the Violence Against Women provisions, but because it included extra spending that McCain considered unrelated to crime," the newspaper explains.

The paper explains that McCain supported the original bill including the Violence Against Women Act — "So that alone is a significant contradiction of Planned Parenthood’s claim."

McCain has also supported the VAWA on reauthorization votes and even introduced his own measure in 2005 to provide protections for Indian women.

At that time, McCain praised the legislation, saying, "The 1994 Violence Against Women Act has had a tremendous impact on raising the national awareness of domestic violence and providing communities, including Indian tribes, the resources to respond to the devastating impact of domestic violence."

The paper asked Planned Parenthood spokesman Tait Sye if he had any other evidence to bolster its claim.

"Sye scrounged up a few more: a vote against a 2008 justice spending bill that included all justice programs (McCain opposed it because it had too many earmarks), and a couple of other votes that are not directly related to the rape provision of the Violence Against Women Act," the paper said.

"That’s the best they got?" the Times’ editorial complained.

"That’s the classic kind of cherry-picking we’ve seen in campaign ads and it is flimsy evidence for the serious charge that McCain opposed the program, especially in light of his clear support at other times," the Times said.

"Planned Parenthood has virtually nothing to back up its charge that McCain voted to let states charge for rape exams. Sure, McCain voted against a larger crime bill in 1994, but that vote was about assault weapons and spending, not the Violence Against Women Act. And McCain has supported the law before then — and twice since," the paper says.

"Planned Parenthood’s claim isn’t just False, it’s ridiculously so," it concludes.

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