Skip to content

Democratic group takes aim at GOP doctors in Congress on abortion

Group will spend up to $200,000 on digital ads targeting lawmakers’ stance on abortion

Tennessee Rep. Scott DesJarlais is one of 14 GOP doctors in Congress who a Democratic political group is targeting for opposing abortion rights.
Tennessee Rep. Scott DesJarlais is one of 14 GOP doctors in Congress who a Democratic political group is targeting for opposing abortion rights. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group that works to elect Democrats with backgrounds in science and medicine is launching a digital ad campaign targeting GOP doctors in Congress over their opposition to abortion.

314 Action — the name reflects the first three digits of pi — is investing up to $200,000 on the ads, which accuse 14 Republican physicians who serve in the House and Senate of turning their backs on “a sacred oath.”

“As patients we trust our doctors,” the ad states. “But this doctor broke [an] oath to do no harm … [by supporting] an extreme ban on abortion. And they’re coming after our birth control next.

“We need doctors in Congress who honor their oaths and keep their promises,” the 30-second ad concludes.

The campaign is aimed at Republican and unaffiliated women. “Our goals are to speak to these voters and to let them know where their representatives stand on issues that affect their health and well-being,” said Shaughnessy Naughton, the group’s founder and president.

The Alabama Supreme Court’s Feb. 16 ruling that frozen embryos used in in vitro fertilization, or IVF, are humans came as a shock to many voters, Naughton said.

“But this is something that Republicans have campaigned on for years, and people need to know that,” she added.

The campaign, dubbed “Oathbreakers,” targets Reps. Scott DesJarlais and Mark E. Green of Tennessee, Neal Dunn of Florida, Ronny Jackson of Texas, Andy Harris of Maryland, John Joyce of Pennsylvania, Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa and Rich McCormick of Georgia.

In the Senate, the campaign is targeting Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Rand Paul of Kentucky. Of those four, only Barrasso is up for reelection this year; the rest will face reelection in 2027.

Two other GOP lawmakers who are doctors, Reps. Larry Bucshon of Indiana and Michael C. Burgess of Texas, have announced their retirement, but the group will continue to feature them in its ads.

“There are 10 months left on their terms where they still hold a vote in Congress,” Naughton said. “Their constituents deserve to know where they stand. These anti-choice doctors can’t be trusted, and their constituents deserve to know exactly who is representing them in D.C.”

Naughton, a chemist and business owner who ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Democrat in Pennsylvania’s 8th District in 2014 and 2016, formed the group in 2016. It acts as an incubator, providing support and training for scientists seeking elective office, and its affiliated PAC provides candidates with financial support.

314 Action initially focused on backing candidates who pledge to protect and expand the 2010 health care law and support measures to address gun violence. But this year, the group is emphasizing abortion access and related issues such as ensuring that IVF remains a legal procedure and contraception remains legal, Naughton said.

In addition to targeting Republican physicians who serve in Congress, the group is backing several Democratic physicians running this cycle.

That group includes Maxine Dexter, a pulmonologist seeking an open seat in Oregon currently held by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who is retiring; Kelly Morrison, an OB-GYN running for an open seat in Minnesota now held by Rep. Dean Phillips, a Democrat who is not seeking reelection; and Herb Conaway, a primary care doctor and professor running for an open seat in New Jersey currently held by Rep. Andy Kim, a Democrat who is running for Senate.

In 2022, the group worked to elect two Democratic pediatricians to Congress: Reps. Yadira Caraveo of Colorado and Kim Schrier of Washington.

Recent Stories

Five races to watch in Pennsylvania primaries on Tuesday

‘You talk too much’— Congressional Hits and Misses

Senators seek changes to spy program reauthorization bill

Editor’s Note: Congress and the coalition-curious

Photos of the week ending April 19, 2024

Rule for emergency aid bill adopted with Democratic support