The Planned Parenthood Action Fund launched a multimedia campaign in Wisconsin today to educate voters about Sen. John McCain’s troubling anti-health care voting record. The ad campaign, which features online spots on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Web site highlights how this supposedly independent thinker is in lockstep with the most extreme fringes of the Republican Party. Sen. McCain has voted consistently against women’s health, and he supports overturning the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade.
As Sen. McCain is the presumptive Republican nominee for president, his record and rhetoric on abortion and birth control access will come under further scrutiny. As NPR reported last week, many Republican voters incorrectly believe that Sen. McCain supports abortion rights. However, Sen. McCain’s voting record and statements put him out of the mainstream of voters.
‘Sen. McCain believes government has the right to interfere with the most personal and often the most difficult decisions affecting a woman’s health,’ said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. ‘Most Americans believe just the opposite and, as more voters realize Sen. McCain’s ardent anti-choice position, this will be an issue for him in the general election.’
According to a recent Quinnipiac Poll (August 2007), 62 percent of voters support Roe v. Wade, with 64 percent of independent voters supporting Roe v. Wade. In the same poll, by a 20-point margin, voters believe abortion should be legal (57’37); among independent voters, that margin increases to 26 points (59’33). In Wisconsin, 75 percent do not want abortion to be illegal, according to a May 2007 Mellman poll of 600 likely voters.
Wisconsin also has a Criminal Abortion Statute (Wis. Stat. § 940.04) remaining on its books. If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned under a McCain Administration, Wisconsin physicians who perform abortions could be charged with a felony, fined up to $50,000 and imprisoned for up to 15 years. Women who seek abortions could be charged with a felony, fined up to $10,000 and imprisoned for up to 3 ½ years.
‘The more voters learn about Sen. McCain’s anti-women’s health record, the more resistance he will face from the majority of voters, especially among moderate Republicans and independents here in Wisconsin who support Roe v. Wade and affordable access to family planning,’ said Lisa Boyce, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin (PPAWI).
Sen. McCain has received a zero percent rating from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the lowest rating in the U.S. Senate. He opposed commonsense measures to avoid unintended pregnancies and thus reduce the need for abortion. He opposed ending the ‘global gag rule,’ an anti-family planning restriction that reduces access to contraception and abortion services and information in poorer countries.