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Ad Check: Is Thom Tillis Really Bad For Women?

Did he really lead the fight to defund Planned Parenthood and kill the Equal Pay Bill?
Kay Hagan's latest ad says Thom Tillis has a record women can't trust. Is it true?


GREENSBORO, N.C. -- One of Senator Kay Hagan's latest ads focuses on the largest group of North Carolina voters – women.

"In July 2012 Tillis lead the fight to defund Planned Parenthood cutting funding for cancer screenings and birth control," the ad says.

Alison Kiser with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central NC says the ad's true. She says Tillis and the GOP zapped the agency of about $200,000. But don't just take her word for it. 2 Wants to Know pulled the records. Tillis voted to drain funds. Voted – but did the Speaker of the House "lead the fight" as the ad suggests? After all 67 other republican representatives and six democrats voted for defunding too.

"He was supportive of it. He let it go forward. He let that budget pass out of that house as quickly as he could," Kiser said.

The ad goes on to say: "Last April Tillis killed Equal Pay For Women legislation in North Carolina."

To fact check this, you have to know how our government works in Raleigh. Before lawmakers vote on bills on the House floor, the legislation goes through a committee to be fine-tuned. Records show Tillis acting as Speaker of the House sent the Equal Pay Bill to the Committee on Rules. Nothing happened with it after that. No hearing. No vote. The bill died.

Here's where the paper trail hits a dead end and you have to make a judgment call. The committee chairs are responsible for scheduling a hearing. So you could argue the Rules Committee Chair Tim Moore, a republican from Cleveland County, killed the bill. Not Tillis. But no so fast says Evelyn Terry, a democratic representative from Winston-Salem.

"The bill wasn't given an opportunity to live," Terry said.

Terry's one of the Equal Pay Bill's co-sponsors. She thinks Tillis sent the bill to the wrong committee. The Rules Committee typically looks at rules on how government works. Terry wanted the Commerce Committee – how businesses work.

"He's a very keen and astute politician. So there are many things you can do where your finger prints will never show," Terry said.

So both claims in the ad require a lot of reading between the lines. Something you'd never know from the black and white wording of the commercial's ending:

"It's true, Thom Tillis opposes equal pay for equal work and defunded Planned Parenthood – not someone our women and families can trust," the ad ends saying.

2 Wants To Know reached out to Thom Tillis's office multiple times trying to find out why he picked the Rules Committee for the equal pay bill. We've also contacted the Rules Committee chair. But we haven't heard anything back.

Thom Tillis talked about equal pay in the debates though. Tillis said wants women to get paid the same as men. But he said he also wants to enforce the laws that are already on the books.

2 Wants To Know checked this ad at the request of a viewer who tweeted into us. If there's a political commercial you'd like us to fact check, tweet @WatchDogBen

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