Originally created 08/30/98

Abortion opponents target Hollings in TV advertisement



COLUMBIA -- U.S. Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings will be the target of a statewide TV ad campaign by a national anti-abortion group.

The National Pro-Life Alliance says it wants to turn up the heat "white hot" on the South Carolina Democrat to pressure him to override President Clinton's veto of a bill banning partial-birth abortions.

The ads start Monday and run through November. Mr. Hollings is running for re-election against U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis, R-S.C., who is anti-abortion.

The minute-long commercial said Mr. Hollings voted in 1996 to allow partial-birth abortions to continue.

"Contact Sen. Hollings today and insist he change his vote and oppose partial-birth abortion," the ad says.

The commercial does not say that Mr. Hollings changed his position last year and supports a ban except when the mother's life is in danger.

"If Sen. Hollings truly does oppose partial-birth abortion, he should make a public apology ... and pledge never to vote that way again," alliance Executive Director Mary King said.

The South Carolina legislature voted in 1997 to outlaw partial-birth abortions.

Mr. Hollings said when he changed his stance that he was bowing to the wishes of most South Carolinians and cited state lawmakers' ban.

But Ms. King said she's unsure which way Mr. Hollings will vote next time.

"We don't know what he's going to do," she said.

The alliance has budgeted about $33,000 for the ad campaign in South Carolina.

It will run ads in about a half-dozen states whose senators will cast key swing votes.

The House has already voted to override the president's veto.

Hollings campaign spokesman Robert Gibbs said Mr. Inglis wants third-party groups like these to spend money attacking Mr. Hollings.

Independent groups don't have to disclose their money sources and they can spend unlimited funds as long as they don't "expressly advocate" the election or defeat of a candidate.

"This is Inglis' way of getting around the campaign-finance laws," Mr. Gibbs said.