- The Washington Times - Monday, August 15, 2016

Planned Parenthood’s campaign arm targeted incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey on Monday with a $1.3 million ad buy in Pennsylvania that says his anti-abortion stance is “dangerous for women” and doctors who provide the service.

The 30-second spot, titled “In His Own Words,” features clips from a 2009 MSNBC interview in which Mr. Toomey, one of several GOP senators targeted this year by Democrats hoping to retake the chamber, says he would support legislation in his state that bans abortion and penalizes providers.

Prodded by TV host Chris Matthews, Mr. Toomey also suggests doctors who provide abortions should go to jail.

“At some point, doctors performing abortions, I think, would be subject to that sort of penalty,” he says.

Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion-provider network in the U.S., said it is pouring $1.1 million into television segments against Mr. Toomey and $200,000 in digital advertising through its political and advocacy organizations.

“Pat Toomey has taken positions radically out of step from the people in his state. Pat Toomey wants to ban abortion, put doctors who provide abortion in jail, and has voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Pat Toomey is just too extreme for Pennsylvania voters,” said Deirdre Schifeling, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes.

Planned Parenthood itself became a political football in the wake of an undercover series of videos that appeared to show organization officials negotiating the sale of fetal body parts.

Republicans have attempted to cut off all federal funding to the organization as punishment for its abortion practice, though President Obama earlier this year vetoed a fast-track budget bill that would have dinged the organization, while repealing Obamacare.

More recently, Senate Democrats filibustered a $1.1 billion plan to fight the Zika virus in part because GOP drafters didn’t include Planned Parenthood in its contraception plans. The virus is known to cause serious birth defects in babies born to infected mothers, though Republicans say they provided plenty of money for community health clinics and other groups that provide contraception.

The ad buy in Pennsylvania is part of the Planned Parenthood’s Votes’ plan to spend $30 million overall in this election year attacking Senate Republicans, who are hoping to protect an effective 54-46 GOP majority in November.

In recent days, Planned Parenthood’s political action committee has criticized Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican also seeking re-election, for reiterating his stance against abortion in the face of Zika, which is now spreading locally in Miami, and endorsed Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander over Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, citing the Democrat’s defense of Planned Parenthood.

Mr. Toomey is defending his seat against Democratic challenger Katie McGinty, a former state and federal environmental policy official.

On Monday, the Toomey campaign said Mrs. McGinty is the one who is out of step with Keystone State voters.

“Pat Toomey’s record on abortion is the same as a majority of elected Pennsylvanians in Congress and the state legislature, while Katie McGinty’s view is so extreme that she would have taxpayers paying for any abortion for any reason during any time of pregnancy.”

Recent polls show the Pennsylvania race to be close, with Real Clear Politics giving Mrs. McGinty a 2.6-percent edge in its average from several polling groups.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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