Planned Parenthood spends a record $50 million in midterm elections

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading provider of reproductive health care and abortion rights advocacy, plans to spend a record $50 million ahead of the November midterm elections and put money into contests to improve access to abortion vote stands.

The effort, which breaks the group’s previous spending record of $45 million set in 2020, comes months after the Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade overturned the landmark 1973 case that created a constitutional right to abortion. Conducted by the organization’s political and advocacy groups, it focuses on governorships, US Senate seats and general elections in nine states where abortion rights could be restricted or expanded depending on election results.

The historic proportions of the mid-term campaign, which normally sees less money being spent, were made possible by a flood of funds raised after the Supreme Court’s new Conservative majority decision, which ushered in a tectonic turn in abortion policy. Now, for the first time, Republicans, who have long opposed abortion and the Roe v. Wade, confront voters on an issue that is no longer hypothetical and has real life implications.

Planned Parenthood says its spending will help remind voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin what’s at stake for Democratic and Independent turnout increase voters.

“Whoever wins these midterm elections will decide whether a state has access to abortion and potentially decide whether we face a national abortion ban,” said Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes. “We will make it clear who is on which side.”

A recent poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that a majority of Americans believe Congress should pass legislation guaranteeing access to legal abortion nationwide. More than half of those polled said they were at least somewhat “sad” or “angry” about the Supreme Court’s decision.

Earlier this month voters in Red State Kansas rejected by nearly 20 percentage points a constitutional amendment that would have allowed lawmakers to push an abortion ban.

We will see after election day, November 8th, whether this is really an exciting topic.

“We say this every cycle: ‘This is the important election,'” said Amy Kennedy, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Votes in Georgia. “For us, this is really the most important election cycle of our lives.”

Planned Parenthood intends to reach 6 million voters through door knocks, phone calls, digital advertising, mailers and radio advertising. It has already aired a few television spots in Wisconsin, where Republicans control the statehouse and where Democratic Governor Tony Evers and Republican US Senator Ron Johnson are running for re-election.

It also launches a website, takecontrol2022.com.

While the June Supreme Court ruling effectively left states to set abortion policy, Planned Parenthood says it’s also investing in US Senate races because Republicans have expressed interest in a national ban on abortion, though such a measure almost certainly is would be rejected by President Joe Biden.

Democrats and their allies have long tried, without much success, to motivate their supporters by focusing on abortion. But the Supreme Court decision clarified the stakes like never before. In about a dozen Republican-run states, abortion is already banned or severely restricted. Many more are to follow.

“By the time people go to the polls this November, almost half of the voters could live in a state that either already has abortion bans or is fast moving to ban abortion. It’s a whole new set of circumstances,” Lawson said. “There are certainly many issues that people are interested in, but the status of access to abortion is absolutely one of the defining issues this November.”

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Follow AP’s midterm election coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections.

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