Fact Check: Anti-Kistner abortion ad lacks evidence

It's no secret that Democrats see abortion as their most potent campaign issue in this fall's midterm elections.

But a new abortion-themed attack ad against Republican Tyler Kistner in Minnesota's second congressional district is misleading, a FOX 9 Fact Check finds.

The ad comes from the Democrats' House Majority PAC, which is spending heavily to promote Democratic U.S. Rep. Angie Craig's re-election. Craig faces Kistner in a rematch of their 2020 race, which Craig narrowly won.

'No exceptions'

"Tyler Kistner says he’s 100% pro-life and supports letting states ban abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest, or to save a woman’s life," says the ad's narrator, who's labeled on screen as an OB-GYN.

The claim starts with a truth: Kistner's 2020 campaign website said the candidate was "100% pro-life." The campaign has removed that phrase, plus any mention of abortion, from its website this year.

Kistner continues to oppose abortion rights. In June, he endorsed the efforts of Minnesota Concerned Citizens for Life, an anti-abortion rights group, to reduce abortions across the country.

But neither the ad nor Craig's campaign, which has made similar assertions against Kistner in the past, provided FOX 9 with evidence that Kistner has explicitly said he supports letting states ban abortion with no exceptions.

In fact, three weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and left abortion access up to states, Kistner told MinnPost that he would support exceptions for rape, incest, or to protect the mother's health.

Nationwide abortion ban?

The ad also says Kistner, if elected to the U.S. House, "would help Republicans ban abortion for the whole country."

Again, there is no evidence of Kistner explicitly saying that. In that way, Kistner differs from Minnesota Republican governor candidate Scott Jensen, who said in a March 2022 radio interview that "I would try to ban abortion," though abortion is a constitutionally protected right in the Minnesota constitution under a 1995 state Supreme Court ruling. Jensen has since shifted his stance and endorsed exceptions for rape, incest, or to protect the mother's health. He has also said the issue isn't on the 2022 ballot.

FOX 9 asked Kistner's campaign if the candidate supported Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham's proposal for a 15-week abortion ban, which Graham unveiled this week.

Kistner said he hadn't seen Graham's bill but didn't rule out supporting it. In an emailed statement from a campaign spokesman, Kistner said Americans would find a 15-week ban "far more reasonable" that Craig's abortion stance.

Craig, like many Democrats, supports putting abortion protections in Roe v. Wade into federal law.

View other FOX 9 Fact Checks here.

FOX 9 Fact Check: Here's our rating system
True: accurate information that requires little or no additional context
Needs clarification: mostly accurate information that leaves out context that would be helpful to voters
Not the whole story: the information presented leaves out a significant amount of context that could lead voters to a different conclusion
Misleading: partial information presented in a way that misleads voters
False: inaccurate information, or information presented out of context