Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 17, 2014

Missouri: Claire McCaskill Hits Todd Akin on Emergency Contraception

Missouri: Claire McCaskill Hits Todd Akin on Emergency Contraception

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) unveiled a new ad this weekend that makes reference to the comments that turned her challenger, GOP Rep. Todd Akin, into an underdog.

The ad tackles Akin’s August comments that in cases of “legitimate rape,” a woman’s body can prevent pregnancy. But McCaskill goes further by attempting to link Akin’s erroneous statements to his position against emergency contraception.

The ad notes the Missouri Democrat’s work as a prosecutor with victims of sexual violence. McCaskill worked as a prosecutor before becoming state auditor in 1999.

“It’s why Claire understands that survivors of rape deserve the option of emergency contraception, whether they accept it or not,” the ad says. “But Todd Akin opposes emergency contraception for victims of rape and incest. So it’s more than what Todd Akin said, it’s what he believes.”

Some states require medical facilities operated by religious organizations that have an ethical objection to emergency contraception commonly known as the “morning-after” pill or “Plan B” to dispense it in limited circumstances, such as after a rape. The drug works to block pregnancy after unprotected sexual contact. The Catholic Church operates many of the hospitals subject to the policies.

In 2005, Massachusetts adopted one such requirement when GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was the state’s governor. That caused some heartburn for Romney with conservatives earlier this year when he was still working to secure the Republican nomination in a crowded primary field.

Akin’s stated views go much further than that debate, however. Asked in August by KCMO radio about banning the morning-after pill specifically, Akin said: “Yeah, I think that’s a form of abortion, and I don’t support it.” Akin opposes abortion rights in all circumstances, including rape and incest.

A campaign source says McCaskill’s new TV spot is hitting the airwaves statewide. The campaign should have plenty of money to spend on this and other advertising, having announced it raised $5.8 million in the third quarter, with polls continuing to show the race in McCaskill’s favor. Roll Call rates the race as Leans Democratic.

This is not the first Missouri Senate ad referencing Akin’s widely debunked suggestion that women can somehow prevent unintended pregnancies or other consequences from unwanted sexual contact. McCaskill’s campaign has been on the air already, and Emily’s List partnered with the Services Employees International Union on another ad:

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