Truth Test: No sympathy for rape victims?

KUSA—In Colorado, Democrats are talking a lot this election about some unpleasant topics: abortion, rape, and incest.

They're doing that because they're hoping to turn undecided women against Republicans in the November election, by portraying them as against women's rights.

9NEWS will hold those who run political ads on our networks accountable for what they say. To learn more about how political ads and fact-checking work on 9NEWS, please read these answers to our common questions and comments.

MORE POLITICAL ADS: Find the entire collection of Truth Tests here.

One newer ad that's doing this ends with a very typical conclusion; that the other side is "extreme."

In this case it's the Senate Majority PAC (a group that aims to elect Democrats) calling Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) extreme on abortion.

The ad has a not-so-typical beginning.

It aims to get viewers to imagine being impregnated by being raped.

"Your whole world—torn apart," says an announcer while a shot is shown of a forlorn-looking woman sitting against a wall.

This is the setup to the argument that Gardner has no sympathy for rape victims. In fact, the ad argues Gardner would make life harder for them.

CLAIM: "[Gardner is] pushing to outlaw a women's right to choose. Even in cases of rape and incest.

VERDICT: True, but extra context is useful.

This same claim popped up in an earlier Truth Test this year, and our verdict remains the same.

Gardner supported a billin the state legislature in 2007 that would have made performing abortions a crime.

The bill contained an exception to save the life of the mother, but no exception for rape or incest.

However, Gardner has also supported other pro-life policies that do have exceptions for rape and incest.

In fact, that is the case with the very next piece of legislation this ad references.

CLAIM: "Gardner tried to redefine rape to mean only forcible rape. In Gardner's bill, victims who were drugged or minors who were victims of statutory rape would not be considered rape victims."

VERDICT: Misleading

This claim stems from a bill that Gardner co-sponsored in congress, which was meant to keep taxpayer money from paying for abortions.

That bill, known as the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," had exceptions for rape and incest, but the first draft used the term "forcible rape" to lay out when the exception would apply.

Gardner didn't write the draft. He signed on as a co-sponsor.

But more importantly, the word "forcible" was removed by an amendment before the bill was voted on in the House.

The exceptions were changed to merely read "if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest."

Gardner supported that change, with his spokesperson telling reporters at the time:

"The intention was never to change the definition of rape. Rep. Gardner added his name as a co-sponsor because he believes in banning taxpayer subsidized abortions."

-Fort Collins Coloradoan, Feb. 3, 2011

If Gardner wanted to redefine rape, his actions and statements to change that bill certainly seem to show otherwise.

BOTTOM LINE: Rep. Cory Gardner has a long history of trying to outlaw abortion and some of the proposals he's supported have been more strict than others.

But this ad is stretching the record, trying to make you think that Gardner doesn't care about the details and how they'll affect rape victims.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment