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Planned Parenthood says it will spend $40 million on abortion rights ahead of November's election

FILE - Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at Planned Parenthood, March. 14, 2024, in St. Paul, Minn. Planned Parenthood will spend $40 million ahead of November's elections to bolster President Joe Biden and leading congressional Democrats. It will initially target eight states: Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Montana, New Hampshire and New York. (AP Photo/Adam Bettcher, File)
Original Publication Date June 24, 2024 - 3:21 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Planned Parenthood will spend $40 million ahead of November's elections to bolster President Joe Biden and leading congressional Democrats, betting that voters angry at Republican-led efforts to further restrict access to abortion can be the difference in key races around the country.

The political and advocacy arms of the nation's leading reproductive health-care provider and abortion rights advocacy organization shared the announcement with The Associated Press before its wider release Monday.

The group will initially target eight states: Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Biden is seeking to defend 2020 victories, as well as North Carolina, which the Democratic president's campaign hopes to flip after Republican Donald Trump won it four years ago, and Montana, New Hampshire and New York, which have races that could help determine control of the Senate and House.

The push will try to reach voters with volunteer and paid canvassing programs, phone banking and digital, TV, and mail advertising.

“Abortion will be the message of this election, and it will be how we energize voters," said Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes. “It will be what enables us to win.”

The spending plan is not an election cycle record for the group. It spent $45 million ahead of Biden defeating Trump in 2020 and $50 million before the 2022 midterms.

Planned Parenthood's advocacy arms focused on pouring money into contests where access to abortion was on the ballot after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that created a constitutional right to have an abortion, a decision handed down two years ago Monday.

“We continue to see the devastation that comes when anti-abortion politicians have power,” Lawson said of the years since. “It’s just gotten worse.”

Abortion continues to be one of the nation’s most important political issues, but dynamics around it have changed since the Supreme Court ruling. After the ruling, most Republican-controlled states imposed new abortion restrictions, including some bans at every stage of pregnancy.

Meanwhile, voters in seven states — California, Michigan and Vermont, as well as usually reliably Republican Kansas, Kentucky, Montana and Ohio — sided with abortion-rights supporters on ballot measures.

In November, voters in several other states, including battleground Arizona and Nevada, will have abortion referendums on the ballot, as will Florida, a onetime presidential bellwether that has gotten increasingly Republican in recent cycles but where Biden’s campaign is hoping turnout for the abortion ballot initiative can make things closer.

SBA Pro-Life America, one of the country’s most prominent groups opposed to abortion rights, announced in February that it plans to spend $92 million targeting voters in eight battleground states: Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Montana and Georgia.

In addition to national efforts, local Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations in California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio are planning advocacy campaigns ahead of November.

Planned Parenthood advocacy efforts also will focus on some down-ballot races, like aiding Democrats seeking a supermajority in the Nevada statehouse, or opposing two state supreme court justices up for reelection in Arizona after they voted to allow officials to enforce an 1864 law criminalizing nearly all abortions, which the state legislature has since voted to repeal.

“We can’t just vote for ballot initiatives," said Lindsey Harmon, executive director for Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates PAC. “We also have to support the infrastructure that makes abortion access possible.”

News from © The Associated Press, 2024
The Associated Press

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