Planned Parenthood's political action committee has become a player in the closely watched 36th District state House race, with an ad tying Rep. Harry Readshaw to Gov. Tom Corbett and to a controversial measure, supported by the governor, that would have required women to undergo an invasive ultrasound before having an abortion.
The Planned Parenthood commercial, designed to bolster Rep. Erin Molchany’s bid against her Democratic colleague, comes as Mr. Readshaw campaign is airing a new commercial criticizing Ms. Molchany for voting in favor of an administration transportation bill that raised a ceiling on wholesale gas taxes. Given the governor's dismal poll numbers, both campaigns are working to associate thier oppoent with Mr. Corbett.
The anti-Readshaw ad links his image with that of Mr. Corbett, and repeatedly runs a clip in which the governor defended the legislation, saying that women could “just close your eyes,'' rather than viewing the ultrasound display that the bill would have mandated. Mr. Readshaw was an original co-sponsor of the legislation, but he said he removed his backing after reviewing the bill more thoroughly.
“I withdrew my name,’’ Mr. Readshaw said. “[Originally] it sounded like a health protection type of consideration, and later I found out that it wasn’t, and women found it invasive.’’
The bill was never enacted, but it sparked a storm of criticism from liberal groups contending that the measure was demeaning and intrusive.
While emphasizing his overall pro-life position, Mr. Readshaw criticized the fact that the ad suggests that he continued to support the legislation.
In it, juxtaposed with repeated clips of Mr. Corbett saying, “Just close your eyes,’’ an announcer says,
“When Tom Corbett proposed the strictest restrictions on women’s health care in the country, he told women, 'You just have to close your eyes.' His biggest ally in Pittsburgh? Harry Readshaw. … Harry Readshaw’s extreme record to limit access to safe, legal abortion includes a bill forcing women to view an ultrasound image against her will; taking away insurance coverage; and restrictions on health clinics opposed by doctors.''
After another shot of Corbett, the announcer concludes, “When you vote on May 20th, don’t close your eyes.’’
Here’s the Planned Parenthood ad:
And here’s the new Readshaw commercial assailing Ms. Molchany’s vote for the administration’s transportation package:
The Molchany camp criticized the language of the ad, complaining that its emphasis on transportation funding for Philadelphia is deceptive in that the bill also includes funding for the Allegheny County port Authority as well as road and bridge projects across the Commonwealth.
The Readshaw ad script:
“Molchany fought for and voted for Governor Corbett’s crushing new gas taxes, the highest in America. Corbett and Molchany hiked gas taxes 30 cents a gallon to fund transit projects in Philadelphia. So as you watch prices go way up at your next fill up, say no can do Molchany, you’ve cost my family enough already.’’
And a response from the Molchany camp:
“This ad is just another example of Republican-style scare tactics from Harry Readshaw,” said Campaign Manager Jacob Redfern, “Even PoliticsPA said that his opposition to the transportation bill ‘falls directly in line with the conservative sentiment of the Republican House’. Our neighborhoods support the democratic values Rep. Molchany stands for and won’t fall for these misleading attacks.”
The Readshaw rebuttal: