Cortez Masto ad attacks Heck on anti-abortion stance

The newest ad attacking Republican Senate candidate Joe Heck has a familiar tone to it.

The ad, paid for by Heck’s Democratic opponent Catherine Cortez Masto, paints him as anti-abortion congressman, an active opponent of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, and claims he is “against a woman’s right to choose.”

Heck’s self-described “pro-life” stance has been a common target for Democratic opponents. He faced similar attack ads during his successful congressional bids in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

Heck and Cortez Masto are in a competitive, well-funded race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Harry Reid., a site that tracks money spent by super PACS and other outside groups, ranks the battle as the fourth-highest receiver of outside money among senatorial races this election cycle as of Wednesday.

Responding to the ad, Heck’s campaign manager Brian Baluta said it demonstrates Cortez Masto “putting politics and campaign contributions ahead of women’s health.”

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsed Cortez Masto in May.

The 30-second ad attacks makes four claims about Heck’s stance and voting records with regard to abortion and Planned Parenthood.

  • Heck is “against a woman’s right to choose.”
  • Heck voted 10 times to defund planned parenthood.
  • Heck tried to shut down the federal government to defund Planned Parenthood.
  • Heck wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in the U.S.


Baluta said Heck “has never stated he supports overturning Roe v. Wade, nor has he ever voted to do so.”

Heck has voted to defund Planned Parenthood 10 times since 2011. The congressman would rather see federal funding go toward community health centers rather than the nonprofit organization, Baluta said.

Heck supports the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal money from being used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in danger, Baluta said.

“While recognizing that Planned Parenthood does provide health care services to women, he believes that same ban on taxpayer funds should extend to Planned Parenthood as there is not always a sufficient ‘fire wall’ between abortion services and health care services,” he added.

Baluta called the claim that Heck tried to shut down the federal government to defund Planned Parenthood “false,” noting that the congressman eventually voted in favor of funding the federal government. Heck did vote on two versions of a bill in the days leading up to the federal government funding deadline that would have defunded the nonprofit organization for one year. That bill, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, failed in the Senate.

Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at or 702-383-4638. Find @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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