Capitol Alert

Ad Watch: Bera ad deceptive about Ose’s record on abortion rights

A television ad run by the Rep. Ami Bera campaign attacks Doug Ose’s record on abortion rights.
A television ad run by the Rep. Ami Bera campaign attacks Doug Ose’s record on abortion rights. YouTube

Democratic Rep. Ami Bera of Elk Grove, in another television ad, depicts Republican challenger Doug Ose as opposing access to birth control and being against abortion rights, showing the former congressman backpedaling in black-and-white footage.

Below is the text of the ad, followed by an analysis by Christopher Cadelago of The Bee Capitol Bureau.

Text: “Hey, Doug Ose, your statements about birth control? They’re backwards. You’re on record supporting limits to a woman’s access to birth control. What year is this? And when you were in Congress, Doug, you voted anti-choice, restricting a woman’s right to choose again and again. Just another politician who thinks he can tell women how they should handle their private, personal health decisions. Doug Ose, you can’t walk away from that.”

Analysis: The basic premise of the ad – that Ose opposes abortion rights – is deceiving. Ose, dating back to his first run for Congress in 1998, has supported abortion rights, except for certain late-term abortion procedures. The position, along with his voting record during three terms in Congress through 2005, hurt him with conservatives. When Ose went up against fellow Republican Tom McClintock in a 2008 House primary, he was criticized for having among the lowest “pro-life ratings” of all the state’s GOP delegation.

In Congress, Ose supported legislation to mandate coverage of prescription contraceptives. The ad cites Ose’s agreement with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this year in a case involving the craft store chain Hobby Lobby, whose family owners oppose abortion for religious reasons. While the court ruled the stores could not be forced to provide insurance coverage for certain types of contraceptives, Ose says business owners should be allowed to exercise their religious preferences.

It’s true Ose supported the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, joining 282 colleagues, including 62 Democrats, who voted for its passage in the House. It banned partial-birth abortions, except when necessary to save the life of a mother.

Ose also backed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004, or Laci and Conner’s Law, after a pregnant Laci Peterson of Modesto was murdered in 2002. Her husband, Scott Peterson, was later convicted for the crime and is on death row at San Quentin.

Signed by President George W. Bush, the law made it a separate offense to kill or harm a child in utero, recognizing the unborn as victims. The House vote was 254-163, with 47 Democrats joining, despite concerns of abortion-rights groups that it could threaten a woman’s right to choose. Supporters pointed to arguments in the bill that it doesn’t “interfere with or restrict a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.”

Bera also cites in the ad Ose’s support for House Resolution 4818, an omnibus spending bill that passed the House 344-51, garnering yeas from House Democratic top leaders, including minority leader Nancy Pelosi and whip Steny Hoyer. Some abortion-rights groups worried that language in the successful bill would allow certain providers to refuse to provide reproductive health care service.

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.