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Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., speaks at an election-night event on Aug. 23, 2022 in Orlando.
Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., speaks at an election-night event on Aug. 23, 2022 in Orlando.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Demings launches first TV ad on abortion in Florida Senate race

Democratic Rep. Val Demings criticized GOP Sen. Marco Rubio's abortion position in her new TV ad.


Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., is launching the first TV ad of her Senate campaign focused on abortion, as Democrats across battleground states focus on the issue ahead of November.

Demings criticized GOP Sen. Marco Rubio's position on abortion in the 30-second spot, shared first with NBC News. The ad is part of an ongoing statewide TV buy, per Demings' campaign.

She continued to lean into her background in law enforcement, which has been a central theme of her early TV ads.

"As a police officer, some of the worst cases I worked were sexual assaults. It's outrageous to mandate when a woman can and can't do with their body," Demings says in the ad.

"Marco Rubio wants to criminalize abortions with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest," she adds. "Well I know something about fighting crime, Sen. Rubio. Rape is a crime. Incest is a crime. Abortion is not."

The ad points to a Politifact article from 2016, which noted that Rubio supports bans on abortion that do not include exceptions for rape or incest. The article also notes that Rubio has supported legislation with such exceptions, including a 20-week abortion ban proposal in 2013.

Rubio's campaign responded to the ad with a statement calling Demings "a pro-abortion extremist."

“In the House, she’s voted for abortion up until the moment of birth, but Demings repeatedly refuses to say that out loud now because she knows how radical that sounds to the people of Florida,” said Elizabeth Gregory, communications director for Rubio's campaign“Marco Rubio is proud to be unequivocally pro-life and has consistently reaffirmed his belief in the dignity of the unborn.”

Rubio recently told NBC 6, "There's a difference between what I think the law is going to be and what I support. I believe innocent human life is worthy of the protection of our laws."

"But I have voted — and would vote for — bills that, if I were in the state legislature, that had restrictions, because I’m in support of any bill that saves lives," Rubio said.

"I know it's not a majority position," Rubio later added. "Many people probably don't agree with me. You probably couldn't pass it.” 

Demings recently told the Miami Herald that the right to an abortion abortion should be guaranteed "up to the time of viability of the fetus."

"Yes, we’ve heard 24 weeks, but a medical professional should be able to help a family who’s having to make that tough decision, answer that question," Demings said.

The new ad is Demings' latest missive in a Senate race where she has dominated the airwaves, spending $25 million on TV, radio and digital ads, per the ad tracking firm AdImpact. Rubio has spent nearly $3.2 million , and has teamed up with the National Republican Senatorial Committee for an additional $3.2 million on ads.

She also has more airtime booked through Election Day, spending $1.6 million in ad reservations to Rubio's $484,000.

Demings faces a tough race against Rubio in a state where Republicans have found success in recent election cycles. The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter rates the race Lean Republican.