This primary election season has Montana candidates competing for votes from women.
Recent television ads launched by U.S. Senate campaigns aim to get Montana women on their side.
Republican candidate Steve Daines and Democratic candidate John Walsh released ads this month geared toward women.
“I was raped when I was 14-years-old. I know the pain it caused me,” says a woman named Melissa in and advertisement paid for by Walsh for Montana.
“That's why it's so insulting that Congressman Steve Daines sponsored a bill to make abortion illegal for victims of sexual assault.”
It is true that Daines co-sponsored H.R. 1091, the Life at Conception Act. The was bill introduced in March 2013 by Republican Rep. Jim Jordan from Ohio. According to govtrack.us, Daines joined as a co-sponsor in April 2013.
The bill reads: "To implement equal protection...for the right to life of each born and preborn human person.”
But the three-page bill doesn't use the word abortion and doesn't mention sexual assault.
“He's even proposed making women criminals for having an abortion,” the ad states.
This claim is not true. The ad cites the same bill -- H.R. 1091. It actually states the opposite, saying: "However, nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child."
According to Walsh's website he supports women’s rights. It says: "We must defend every woman’s right to make her own health care decisions and fight against efforts to criminalize medical care."
The same day Walsh’s ad came out, another geared towards women was also released, paid for by Steve Daines for Montana.
“My ex-husband would slap me to the point that my head would ring,” says the woman in the ad that addresses domestic violence. “And Steve Daines making the vote for the Violence Against Women Act says that he's willing to do what it takes to do the right thing.”
It's true that Daines voted to pass Senate Bill 47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. According to govtrack.us the House passed the bill in February 2013. The House vote passed 286-138; 87 Republicans voted yes, while 138 Republicans voted no.
It should be noted that Daines voted against an act that provides funding for the Violence Against Women Act. According to govtrack.us in January 2014, Daines voted against H.R. 3547, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. That act allocates more than $400 million to fund portions of the Violence Against Women Act. It was signed into law just two days after Daines voted no.
While Walsh didn't vote on the issue, we did ask his campaign where he stands. They offered this response: "Senator Walsh supports the violence against women act, and some of the first bills he sponsored as senator focused on fighting assault of women in the military."