Women’s health care is the focus of the latest salvos in Nebraska’s 2nd District campaign ad war.
Democrats have taken issue with Republican Don Bacon’s support for repealing the Affordable Care Act and defunding Planned Parenthood, saying both moves would hurt women’s access to preventive health care.
“Donald Bacon would cut cancer screenings, putting lives at risk,” warns one Nebraska Democratic Party flier.
Bacon bristled at that line of attack and said it hits particularly close to home given his own family’s tragedy.
“I find it a very vile ad,” Bacon said Thursday. “Our family has had serious repercussions and consequences from breast cancer. I lost my sister when she was 39 years old, and I know that screening and earlier treatment could have saved her life.”
His comments came during a press conference with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., who were in town to help rally support for Bacon.
They praised Bacon, a retired brigadier general, for his military service and leadership skills. And they pushed back on the health care attacks.
The Nebraska Democrats’ flier says that Planned Parenthood helps more than 5,000 Nebraska women a year receive cancer screenings and that Bacon’s position would “reverse decades of progress on women’s health care.”
Bacon said his position is not about whether to provide health care but rather how. He suggested the same care being provided at Planned Parenthood locations could be delivered through community health care centers that do not also provide abortion services. He also criticized the health care law, saying it is causing insurance premiums to rise.
Prominent Nebraska Republican women also have criticized the anti-Bacon ads and fliers.
They said one flier indicated that Planned Parenthood provides mammograms when in fact it simply provides referrals for mammograms.
Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said in a statement that the suggestion Bacon doesn’t support cancer screenings is untrue and a “new low” for Democrats.
“Don will be a champion for Nebraska families and will fight for women in Congress,” she said.
Nebraska Democratic Party Chairman Vince Powers stood by the suggestion that Bacon’s position would ultimately cut cancer screenings.
“If you gut the Affordable Care Act, isn’t that what happens?” Powers said.
He said that Planned Parenthood provides important services to women and that the health care law, while it has problems, can’t simply be tossed away.
“It should not be scrapped as Don Bacon wants to do, but it needs to be fixed,” Powers said.