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Fact Check: How Democratic Ads Mislead On Four GOP Candidates’ Abortion Stances


October 17, 2022

Democrats have spent weeks attacking Republican midterm candidates with television ads about abortion. Some of the ads have been misleading.

Marc Molinaro, New York

A DCCC ad released in mid-September claimed that Marc Molinaro, the Republican candidate in New York’s 19th District, would “stand with politicians who support a nationwide ban on abortion.” Text on the screen said, “MARC MOLINARO,” “POLITICIANS BANNING ABORTION NATIONWIDE,” “EVEN FOR VICTIMS OF RAPE AND INCEST.”

But Molinaro has said he opposes a national abortion ban and supports the rape and incest exceptions.

Molinaro describes himself as “personally pro-life” and generally opposes abortion after 17 weeks. But he said in an August debate that he would not support a nationwide ban, explaining that “I do not believe there is a role for Congress” under the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. (He said there should be “thoughtful limitations” at the state level on late-term abortions.)

At another August event, Molinaro said regarding abortion: “I do not support imposing the federal will on states.” And at a third August event, he said, according to WSKG radio, that he supports exceptions for “life of the mother, rape and incest,” including after 17 weeks.

We can’t definitively fact-check what Molinaro would do if elected, and this ad, too, was worded to avoid directly claiming that Molinaro himself wants a nationwide abortion ban with no exceptions for rape and incest. But like the ad against King in Illinois, the ad against Molinaro did not acknowledge that the candidate is on the record opposing these proposals.

A lawyer for Molinaro’s campaign sent a letter to television stations demanding that they stop airing the ad. The letter said it is not true that Molinaro would stand with politicians supporting a nationwide abortion ban, adding that “the ad provides no citation or other support for this false claim.” CNN could not determine how each station responded.

The ad was fact-checked in late September by the Albany Times Union. The Times Union noted that during a 2018 run for New York governor, Molinaro expressed support for the general idea of New York passing state legislation to codify abortion rights if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade – though he said he doubted the court would do so and also said, as the DCCC ad correctly noted, that he did not support the particular codification bill state legislators were contemplating at the time.

Molinaro campaign manager Will Dawson said in an email to CNN that Democrats are making up “lies” about Molinaro.


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