“After Roe” Ad from Forward Justice
Watch the ad:
In this ad, Judy Woodruff of PBS News Hours says, “A ten year old girl raped in Ohio after her doctors said they could not terminate the pregnancy because it would break the state’s ban on abortion.” A voiceover says, “Pat DeWine said women have ‘no constitutional right to privacy.’ Pat Fischer even compared abortion to slavery and segregation. They stand with the politicians who banned abortion, even for victims of rape. To protect our freedom, don’t stand pat. Fire Fischer. Dump DeWine. Vote. ”
Who's responsible for this ad?
The ad is paid for by Forward Justice, a SuperPAC. Its website describe their mission this way:
“Across the country, elected state Supreme Courts are emerging as the final and most robust protector of democracy and mainstream values and the most important bulwark against a conservative U.S. Supreme Court’s attack on core rights. It is imperative that we continue making gains and winning these seats on the highest courts– particularly in states with Republican-gerrymandered legislatures. The highest priority in 2022 is the opportunity to secure a majority on the Ohio Supreme Court.”
The registration with the Federal Elections Commission provides only the barest amount of information and 2022 contributions are not available to this new SuperPAC are not yet available. While Open Secrets has an overview of Forward Justice, the only information that it provides is that Forward Justice is a SuperPAC.
On Twitter, former Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party and the author of Laboratories of Autocracy: A Wake-Up Call from Behind the Lines David Pepper said that he is committed to raising at least $50,000 for this ad.
The Brennan Center for Justice’s Buying Time project has been tracking political spending in state Supreme Court races. Click here for information about political ads and spending in the Ohio Supreme Court races this year.
Discussion and Analysis
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
Analysis by Ted Hart, former reporter
Political operatives know that negative ads work. This one puts the issue of abortion rights front and center and is certain to stir emotions. But this is a classic example of why voters complain about negative ads. It lacks context and attribution.
The narrator claims, “Pat DeWine said women have ‘no constitutional right to privacy.’
This is an apparent reference to his answer to a question in a judicial candidate survey conducted by Cincinnati Right to Life.
As first reported by WEWS-TV, this was the survey prompt: “In Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), the U.S. Supreme Court recognized a “right to privacy” under the Constitution that includes abortion. The Constitution does not include this right.” DeWine wrote that he agreed.
In fact, the Constitution does not include an express “right to privacy.” But a “right to privacy” is detailed in numerous Amendments to the Constitution and court decisions including Roe which cited the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as providing a fundamental “right to privacy” which protects a pregnant woman’s right to abortion.
Similarly, the narrator of the ad says Justice “Pat Fischer even compared abortion to slavery and segregation.” This is an apparent reference to comments he reportedly made during an appearance at the Delaware City Republican Club.
“Ladies and gentlemen, do you know what substantive due process is?” Fischer asked according to Cleveland.com. “It would take hours to go into it but you know what it’s the basis for? The Dredd Scott decision. Not good. It’s the basis for Plessy v. Ferguson. Not good. And it was the basis for Roe v. Wade.”
To say that Fischer was comparing abortion to slavery is a stretch. Rather he was attempting to lump Roe v. Wade in with prior court decisions that are widely viewed as having wrongly established or protected certain rights (slavery and segregation) that were not specifically mentioned in the Constitution.
The ad paints Fischer and DeWine with a broad anti-abortion brush. To that extent, it is a successful negative ad but one that lacks the kind of context voters need to make informed decisions.
Click here for the Cincinnati Right to Life Survey from Justice Pat Fischer.