Planned Parenthood announced it will spend $20 million dollars in states with upcoming Senate and governor races where Democrats are likely to win, in order to make its spending as effective as possible.
“Reproductive rights and health is at stake in this country and has been at stake for years, but especially this year,” Planned Parenthood Action Fund Director Deirdre Schifeling said Thursday, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Schifeling’s statement comes after Planned Parenthood announced the launch of an aggressive initiative intended to expand abortion access across every state in America. “Today, we’re going on the offense. We’ve been marching, mobilizing, and organizing — and now we’re channeling that into real policy change,” Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said, officially announcing the abortion organization’s initiative launch in mid-February.
When it launched the campaign, Planned Parenthood indicated it would spend most of its money in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
That list has narrowed to eight states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the Post-Dispatch reported. We’re focusing on “races where we think we can be a decisive factor,” Schifeling explained. These eight states have 2018 Senate and governor races, and most are presidential swing states.
“We think this is critical, critical for protecting, and hopefully expanding, access to reproductive health care in the states,” Schifeling added.
Planned Parenthood won’t spend money in states like Missouri, where Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill will likely meet re-elction defeat, Schifeling said. The abortion organization is not going to focus efforts on states without opportunities for Democrats to win Senate seats. President Donald Trump won Missouri, for example, by 18 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.
Planned Parenthood’s $20 million campaign comes largely in response to a number of 2017 pro-life legislative successes. Nineteen states adopted 63 new restrictions on abortion access in 2017, according to a Jan. 2 Guttmacher Institute report. This is the largest number of enacted abortion restrictions in a year since 2013.
In addition to 2017-implemented restrictions, U.S. states have passed 401 anti-abortion policies that span back to January 2011, according to Guttmacher Institute. Lawmakers in 30 states have also presented abortion bans for consideration, and six states put abortion bans into law in 2017, Guttmacher reported.
Planned Parenthood also kicked off 2018 by selling license plates in Nebraska with pro-choice slogan “My Body, My Choice,” in a reaffirmed determination to expand its influence.