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Trump, Republicans Are 'Exploiting' Coronavirus To Ban Abortion, New Ad Alleges

In a new digital ad campaign, the abortion rights group NARAL is accusing President Trump and his Republican allies of exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to restrict abortion access. The new six-figure digital ad campaign targets voters in several swing states.

Republican governors and attorneys general in states including Texas and Louisiana have ordered the suspension of most abortions during the pandemic as part of a shutdown of nonessential medical procedures.

Reproductive rights groups have persuaded federal judges to block or partially scale back those orders. But legal battles are continuing, and patients have been turned away in some states.

A new ad from the abortion rights group NARAL Freedom Fund features young women accusing the President and his allies of putting "ideology over science," and using the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to "roll back the clock" on reproductive rights.

NARAL has said its political arm is spending nearly $35 million overall for the 2020 election cycle to target voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Georgia, Iowa, and North Carolina. The group says it's focusing efforts this year on women and other persuadable voters who see reproductive rights as a motivating concern.

In a statement to NPR, Trump campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh said, "It's disgusting, but not surprising, that the extreme abortion lobby would try to use a global health crisis to promote the killing of unborn children."

Anti-abortion rights groups also are urging state and federal officials to restrict access to abortion during the pandemic.

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Sarah McCammon worked for Iowa Public Radio as Morning Edition Host from January 2010 until December 2013.
Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.