Scott targets 2024 rivals on issue of abortion in new ad

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is targeting some of his 2024 rivals on the issue of abortion in a new ad shared exclusively with The Hill.

“If the radical Left wins, abortions will be performed on minors without their parent’s consent. Babies old enough to feel pain will be aborted. And poor single mothers like mine, will be told aborting their children would help the economy,” Scott says in a 30-second ad that will air on Newsmax starting on Monday.

“Yet, these people say I’m the extremist. I’m Tim Scott, and I approve this message because some Republicans want to retreat on life. I know life is a gift from God, and this is a fight we must win,” he continues in the ad, a subtle jab at several of his fellow 2024 GOP contenders.

The GOP senator’s remarks allude to comments Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said during a Senate hearing last year in which she said that “eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades.”

The new ad is a part of a $8 million-backed campaign that Scott’s team launched last month, and comes as Scott has been trailing contenders, including former President Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, in national polls. However, Scott has performed better in Iowa-based polling. 

Though Scott doesn’t call out any competitors directly in the ad, it appears to be a part of a larger shift in the senator’s approach ahead of the second debate in which he’s taken more of an assertive position against his rivals – a contrast from the first GOP debate in which he largely avoided interjecting into the back-and-forths had by candidates like Haley, former Vice President Pence and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Scott last week, for instance, called out Trump, DeSantis and Haley by name during an interview with Fox News, saying they “have all run away from protecting life.” He also took a jab at Ramaswamy over his foreign policy views on Taiwan and Israel last week.

The ad is also noteworthy given Republican presidential candidates’ campaigns have largely avoided wading into the issue of abortion through ad campaigns, though some candidates have spoken about the issue during campaign stops and events.

The issue of abortion is one that’s split the Republican presidential field. Scott and former Vice President Pence have backed a national 15-week abortion ban, though Pence has said he would back a six-week ban, too. Meanwhile, former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have dodged whether they would support restrictions at the federal level. DeSantis, however, has signed a six-week abortion ban in Florida.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley have either said they don’t support federal restrictions or believe it’s not politically feasible in the current moment.

The ad represents recent efforts by Republicans to go on offense on the issue of abortion – an issue that galvanized Democrats and swing voting blocs during the November midterms. 

Virginia Republicans last week also launched an ad ahead of the November state legislative elections hitting Democrats over their abortion stance, arguing they favor no limits to the medical procedure.

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