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Planned Parenthood Hits McCain, Palin on Rape Record

By Ed O'Keefe
Voters watching Thursday night's debate in Missouri, Northern Virginia and Wisconsin may see a new ad from the political arm of Planned Parenthood that targets John McCain and Sarah Palin for their record on women's health and safety issues, specifically rape.

The ad stars a woman named Gretchen who says, "I just didn't think it would happen to me. I was drugged and raped."

"Under Mayor Sarah Palin," the ad's announcer says, "women like Gretchen were forced to pay up to $1,200 for the emergency exams used to prosecute their attackers. In the Senate, John McCain voted against legislation to protect women from these same heartless policies."

"That is something to me that is unthinkable. It scares me to death," Gretchen concludes.

In a news release, Planned Parenthood Action Fund's president called McCain and Palin "dangerously out of touch when it comes to women's rights and women's health care." The group cites 125 votes McCain has cast "against women's health" during his House and Senate careers, including his 1994 vote against the bill that made domestic violence a federal crime.

Palin has faced criticism for a Wasilla, Alaska, police policy of billing women or their insurers between $300 and $1,200 for emergency rape kits that was in place when she was the town's mayor. The practice was overturned by a bill passed by the Alaska legislature in 2000.

McCain campaign aides say there is no proof any sexually assaulted woman in Wasilla was actually forced to pay for her own rape kit, an evidence gathering examination useful for police and prosecutors.

"Planned Parenthood's ad is a vicious smear against Senator McCain and Governor Palin," said RNC spokesman Danny Diaz. "This ad is patently false and represents the worst kind of politics." McCain advisers point out that that he voted for the original 1993 Senate version of the bill making domestic violence a federal crime, but voted against the final 1994 version that passed after a House-Senate compromise added several provisions including a ban on certain types of firearms.

As for the charges against Palin, the campaign cites a written response she provided to an Alaska newspaper on Tuesday stating that "The entire notion of making a victim of a crime pay for anything is crazy. I do not believe, nor have I ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test. As governor, I worked in a variety of ways to tackle the problem of sexual assault and rape, including making domestic violence a priority of my administration."

Tuesday night she also restated her opposition to abortion "despite horrific, horrific circumstances" such as incest or rape in an interview with Katie Couric on CBS.

"Heartless" is a 30-second spot that will air for a week starting tomorrow in the St. Louis, Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia, Milwaukee and Madison, Wis., markets on a mix of broadcast and cable stations.

In St. Louis, the city hosting Thursday night's debate, the ad will air on the market's broadcast stations before or after Palin debates Sen. Joe Biden.

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 1, 2008; 4:32 PM ET
Categories:  Sarah Palin  
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Next: Aides Promise an Aggressive Palin in VP Debate


Video response to charging for Rape Kits, Sarah Palin, McCain, and Fundamentalist Elites:

Posted by: WindHarps | October 2, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Every one of you has a woman in your life - friends, sisters, daughters - that has had an abortion whether you know it or not. Planned Parenthood provides a safe haven for abortions - women will always get rid of unwanted pregnancies whether it is legal or not, the question is: do you want to put women at risk to lose their lives because some narrow minded, unrealistic old white men and religious freaks can;t get their head out of the sand to see that we cannot even feed all the mouths on earth today? We cannot sustain these outdated views. And NO MAN should have any say in policy that affects only women. I'm not sitting here talking about laws that affect your penises. How would you like it?

Posted by: rufus2 | October 2, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Yes, jafprrr, I really want Obama to submit a list of over two million people. I'm not saying you personally are prohibited by law from contributing. What other way, however, can we actually verify that fact for the other 1,999,999? I also want only eligible voters to vote for President, once, preferably. I'm funny that way.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 2, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Good luck trying to convince the Obama worshipers on here that the "Palin-charged-for-rape-kits" story is false.
Posted by: dbw1 | October 2, 2008 9:53 AM

Part of Palin's executive credentials are that she was the mayor of Wasilla. Under her administration the policy was changed to charge for rape kits.

So is your position that Palin is not responsible for that because she was too incompetent to know. As Harry Truman said the buck stops here.

The Republican party has a penchant for incompetent executives. That is what makes you so comfortable about having Palin.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 2, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Gator-ron and info42 don't know the difference between a baby and a fetus.

Posted by: newageblues | October 2, 2008 8:22 AM
It is not necessary to know the difference to know that Palin did not exercise her responsibility to fight crime by paying to obtain the evidence to convict criminals.

I have not made any mention of babies. I have quoted another person who did.

The issue is rape and to talk about other things is a way of distracting from Palin and her weak stance on crime.
In a state with the highest per capita incidence of rape, 30% higher than the national average there was a 5% cut in the budget of the state police. Ms Palin seems to have a blind spot when it comes to rape.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 2, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

MarkInAustin, you're not paying attention. Well over two million people have contributed to Obama's campaign, and most of them have done so in small money amounts. You only need an average of less than $100 each to reach your $222.7 million.

I, for one, have donated $50 so far. But when I read posts like yours I am encouraged to donate more.

Thank you for the inspiration.

Just think about it - over two million people care enough to donate money to Obama. The reason McCain lists everybody is because most of his money comes from big business, so every individual that donates makes him look a little better.

Do you really want Obama to submit a list of over two million people?

MarkInAustin - you're just further evidence that McCain supporters really don't get it. Get with the program guys, a change is a-coming, and it's people-powered.

Posted by: jafprrr | October 2, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse


Good luck trying to convince the Obama worshipers on here that the "Palin-charged-for-rape-kits" story is false.

I have posted the CNN debunking of that story on several other boards, but that doesn't stop the factually-challenged and mind-numbed Obama followers from continuing to repeat it over, and over, and over, and over, and know, repeat a lie enough and eventually you'll believe it's the truth.

Kind of like "Obama will lower my taxes!".....

Posted by: dbw1 | October 2, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Gator-ron and info42 don't know the difference between a baby and a fetus.

Posted by: newageblues | October 2, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

There are a lot of facts in this ad, but they get over-ridden by the right because it is Planned Parenthood sponsoring the ad. The same would happen if Rush or Michael puts out an ad.

Posted by: taid | October 2, 2008 2:44 AM | Report abuse

AK law on this is pretty much identical to the laws in every other state.

Posted by: mnm619 | October 1, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

The reason that Palin is against paying for rape kits is because they include the "morning after pill" which prevents pregnancy in a way that Palin considers to be abortion. So, she is careful in her language. Palin supports paying for "evidence gathering" but is against providing the morning after pill to rape victims.

Posted by: Renu1 | October 1, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

WRONG! McCain has released names of donors below the federally-required $200 limit.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 1, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 1, 2008 5:59 PM |

Donors contributing less than $200 dollars are not released by either side and not covered by law for understandable reasons. I do not think you want this investigated because you are a sufficiently unreliable source that it should be requested of Drudge. There is nothing illegal here and what you want should be taken up with your congressman not the Post.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 1, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Planned Parenthood, an organization founded by a noted racist and eugenicist, has singlehandedly murdered millions of babies.

So, it's kinda funny for them to accuse others of crimes.

Posted by: info42 | October 1, 2008 5:12 PM

What is you position on the victim paying for gathering the evidence to prosecute the criminal? That is where Palin failed.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 1, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Planned Parenthood isn't happy aborting babies so now they have moved on to aborting the truth.
Posted by: rahaha | October 1, 2008 5:29 PM |

Please elaborate because the charge against Ms Palin is a serious one that has nothing to do with abortion. Or is it your position that it is appropriate for the woman to pay to get the evidence upon which the prosecution will be made?

It is unfortunate that it is Planned Parenthood that is sponsoring this ad. Maybe it would have been more effective if it was a victims rights organization.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 1, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

How about this new report from the Center for Responsive Politics:

More than half of the whopping $426.9 million Barack Obama has raised has come from small donors whose names the Obama campaign won't disclose.

And questions have arisen about millions more in foreign donations the Obama campaign has received that apparently have not been vetted as legitimate.

Unlike the McCain campaign, which has made its complete donor database available online, the Obama campaign has not identified donors for nearly half the amount he has raised. Federal law does not "require" the campaigns to identify donors who give less than $200 during the election cycle. However, it does require that campaigns calculate running totals for each donor and report them once they go beyond the $200 mark.

Surprisingly, the great majority of Obama donors never break the $200 threshold.

“Contributions that come under $200 aggregated per person are not listed,” said Bob Biersack, a spokesman for the FEC. “They don’t appear anywhere, so there’s no way of knowing who they are.”

The FEC breakdown of the Obama campaign has identified a staggering $222.7 million as coming from contributions of $200 or less. Only $39.6 million of that amount comes from donors the Obama campaign has identified.

It is the largest pool of unidentified money that has ever flooded into the U.S. election system, before or after the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms of 2002.

The rise of the Internet as a campaign funding tool raises new questions about the adequacy of FEC requirements on disclosure. In pre-Internet fundraising, almost all political donations, even small ones, were made by bank check, leaving a paper trail and limiting the amount of fraud.

But credit cards used to make donations on the Internet have allowed for far more abuse.

“While FEC practice is to do a post-election review of all presidential campaigns, given their sluggish metabolism, results can take three or four years,” said Ken Boehm, the chairman of the conservative National Legal and Policy Center.

Already, the FEC has noted unusual patterns in Obama campaign donations among donors who have been disclosed because they have gone beyond the $200 minimum.

Will the WaPo look into this??

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 1, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm, paying for a rape kit....isn't that what this whole bailout thing is?

Posted by: JRM2 | October 1, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

The Planned Parenthood Ad isn't false. She did institute that policy. The way the campaign gets around it is because the town is so small they probably never had a crime like that happen while she was mayor. The point is the statute was in place while she was there. This is not something that can be hidden guys. We can find out about this.

Posted by: DAL333 | October 1, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Planned Parenthood isn't happy aborting babies so now they have moved on to aborting the truth.

Why can't we abort members of Planned Parenthood?

Posted by: rahaha | October 1, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to see everyone on top of this false story. No one "like Gretchen" was ever forced to pay. The smear relies on a story in "The Frontiersman" (a local newspaper linked to above), about passage of an Alaskan law that banned police departments from charging insurance companies for the cost of a medical exam after a reported sexual battery.

The story quoted Police Chief Fannon as opposing the bill: "In the past we've charged the cost of exams to the victims insurance company when possible. I just don't want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer."

So, you ask, where's the smear? Palin haters have twisted the story, claiming that Palin, by virtue of being Fannon's boss as mayor, wanted to charge the victims themselves (dropping any mention of the insurance companies) for the cost of the exam. But unless you're intentionally misreading the story, above, you cannot possibly make that claim.

Chief Fannon's quote, and the article itself, were very clear: it was only the insurance companies that got the bill. Not a single rape victim has ever been asked by the police to pay a penny for a rape kit. How can we tell? Not one has come forward, despite Palin's rise to prominence.

If even a single rape victim had been charged for an exam, don't you think it would have come out during the governor's race, when Palin beat the guy who signed the bill? Don't you think it would have come out since the GOP Convention?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 1, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

The Planned Parenthood ad is false and it knows it!

Governor Palin never instituted the kind of policy the abortion business claims.

Planned Parenthood cites a September 22 CNN article to justify it's claim that Palin's policy was to charge women for the kits, but CNN indicates otherwise.

"Interviews and a review of records turned up no evidence that Palin knew that rape victims were being charged in her town," CNN reported.

As governor, Palin approved a funding increase for domestic violence shelters -- giving them an extra $266,200 -- and reauthorized a Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

Find out more at

Posted by: sertelt | October 1, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Planned Parenthoods ad might be more effective if they had any credibility whatsoever.....

Posted by: dbw1 | October 1, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Planned Parenthood, an organization founded by a noted racist and eugenicist, has singlehandedly murdered millions of babies.

So, it's kinda funny for them to accuse others of crimes.

Posted by: info42 | October 1, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

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