Bay Area congressman releases ad portraying world where women get arrested for having an abortion

"The aim of our ad is to make sure voters know, and they go into the ballot box wide-eyed, that your freedoms are on the line."

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ByLiz Kreutz via KGO logo
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
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California Rep. Eric Swalwell releases an ad portraying a world where women get arrested for having an abortion.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Three weeks until the midterm elections and Bay Area congressman Eric Swalwell is making headlines for a new digital ad that depicts a dystopian reality if Democrats lose control of the House and the Senate.

The ad -- called "Lock Her Up" -- portrays a woman being arrested in front of her family for having an abortion. When the husband steps in to stop the arrest, police draw their guns on the couple while their children watch in tears.

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"The aim of our ad is to make sure voters know, and they go into the ballot box wide-eyed, that your freedoms are on the line," Swalwell, a Democrat who represents part of Alameda and Contra Costa counties, told ABC7 News. "And so this is really an effort to reclaim freedom, to awaken voters, that this election is really going to dictate the course that we head in America for personal freedoms."

While no state currently has a law that would send a woman to prison for having an abortion, Swalwell said he believes it could happen if Republicans control Congress. He said he hopes the ad will energize Democratic voters.

Asked if the ad is meant to shock people, Swalwell replied: "I wish I could say it's an exaggeration, but these things could escalate very quickly."

The ad is part of a wider strategy for Democrats in the final weeks of the election. Amid rising inflation and concerns over the economy, Democrats across the country are looking to abortion rights to fire up voters.

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President Biden gave a speech on Tuesday where he pledged to reinstate abortion protections if Democrats expand their majority in the Senate and maintain control of the House.

"The only sure way to stop these extremist laws that are putting in jeopardy women's health and rights, is for congress to pass a law," President Biden said. "And so folks... here's the promise I make to you and the American people. The first bill that I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v Wade."

But new polling suggests other issues are driving voters to the polls.

In a New York Times Siena Poll that asked voters what the most important problem facing the country is today, 26% said the economy and 19% said inflation and cost of living. Just 4% answered abortion.

ABC News political director Rick Klein told Kristen Sze on "Getting Answers" there's a sense that anger around abortion rights may have dissipated.

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"Most people aren't trying to get an abortion every day, but they are seeing the impact of high prices every day as they go about their lives," Klein said.

Swalwell said he does not agree with the notion that Democrats aren't energized around abortion rights.

"I would push back on a lack of enthusiasm," Swalwell said. "Yesterday in Georgia, the first day of voting in Georgia, they saw a massive increase over the 2018 midterm turnout. And it almost hit the first day voting numbers for the 2020 general election turnout." "So, people are energized," he continued. "I think they know what's at stake."

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