The ad opens on grainy news footage from June 24, the day the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and nearly 50 years of constitutional protection for abortion. A quick clip from a television news anchor warns of "no exceptions for rape or incest."
It then pivots to Tyler Kistner, the Republican candidate running in Minnesota's hotly contested Second District in Congress, claiming he's said he's "'100% pro-life' and supports allowing the government to criminalize abortion, no exceptions."
The new digital ad from DFL U.S. Rep. Angie Craig tries to put Kistner on defense on the issue of abortion in what's expected to be the most-watched congressional race in Minnesota this fall. But the ad claims Kistner supports a ban on abortion without exceptions for rape or incest, which he called "blatantly dishonest" and contradicts what he's recently stated publicly.
The ad's claim that Kistner is "100% pro-life" came from his 2020 campaign website, according to reporting in the Associated Press, although his current campaign website doesn't mention the issue of abortion.
Kistner, a second-time candidate for the district, didn't dispute Craig's assertion during the 2020 campaign that he opposed legal abortion, reported MPR News at the time. He told the Star Tribune one day before Roe was overturned that he believed the issue should be "left at the states to decide."
The question of whether abortion bans should allow exceptions for victims of rape or incest has become a critical distinction for candidates as some states enact bans or debate the severity of restrictions. More than a dozen states with new or forthcoming abortion bans have no exceptions for rape or incest, despite overwhelming public support for those exceptions.
Craig's campaign argues that because Kistner says he supports the overturning of Roe v. Wade, he also supports allowing states to make abortion illegal even in cases of rape or incest. The campaign also pointed to his endorsement from Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, an organization that's pushing to restrict abortion access across the country.
However, in early June, Kistner told MinnPost that he is " 'pro-life' but would support abortion if the life of a mother were in danger and in the cases of rape and incest." Kistner reiterated that position in a tweet on Thursday, as did his campaign in a request for comment.