WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democrat Barack Obama is airing a new ad in New Mexico and Ohio that defends his abortion rights record and says Republican rival John McCain backs a party platform that would deny abortions to victims of rape and incest.
Obama's ad answers an independent ad campaign, financed by an anti-abortion philanthropist, that singles out Obama's efforts in the Illinois Senate to defeat the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.
"Now votes taken out of context, accusing Obama of letting infants die? It's a despicable lie," Obama's ad states.
As an Illinois state senator, Obama opposed three legislative efforts in 2001, 2002 and 2003 to give legal protections to any aborted fetus that showed signs of life. The 2003 measure was virtually identical to a bill President Bush signed into law in 2002 that unanimously passed the U.S. Senate.
Obama and other opponents of the Illinois bill have noted the state already had a law to protect aborted fetuses born alive and considered able to survive. Moreover, they said the proposed legislation would have undermined the landmark Supreme Court case on abortion, Roe v. Wade, in ways the federal law would not. Among those opposed to the state effort was the Illinois State Medical Society, which argued that the bill would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and expand civil liability for doctors.
The independent ad is being aired by BornAliveTruth.org, specifically targeting Albuquerque, N.M., and Cleveland markets. The Obama ad is appearing in the same markets.
The BornAliveTruth ad, financed by prominent Massachusetts anti-abortion figure Raymond Ruddy, features Gianna Jessen, a 31-year-old motivational speaker from Nashville, Tenn., who adopted as a child after a failed abortion. "Sen. Obama, please support born alive infant protections. I'm living proof these babies have a right to live."
Obama's ad links McCain to the independent ad, though the McCain campaign did not pay for or air it.
"McCain, he's running on a platform to ban abortion, even in cases of rape and incest," Obama's ad says. "Sleazy ads, anti-choice, that's John McCain."
The Republican platform approved at the party's national convention earlier this month asserts the GOP's opposition to abortion, including in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother.
McCain has supported such exemptions in the past, but did not try to alter the party's stance at the convention.
Jill Stanek, a nurse and anti-abortion activist who organized BornAliveTruth, said Obama still needs to explain his votes. "These babies have the same rights as the rest of us," she said in response to Obama's ad.