Washington D.C., Jan 19, 2020 / 04:55 pm (CNA).- Planned Parenthood announced this week that it plans to spend $45 million to support pro-abortion candidates at the presidential, congressional, and state levels in the 2020 election.
The campaign, entitled “We Decide 2020,” marks the largest election spending in Planned Parenthood’s history.
Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, told CBS News that “The stakes have never been higher.”
She pointed to the upcoming Supreme Court case involving a Louisiana law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital as “an indicator of [the Trump Administration’s] intention and they've never been so bold.”
The case marks the first major abortion decision that the Supreme Court will hand down since U.S. President Donald Trump’s two court appointments. Abortion advocates fear it could reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that mandated legal abortion nationwide.
However, Lawson added that the Democratic hopefuls vying for an opportunity to challenge Trump also “have the boldest reproductive rights policies we've ever seen.”
This commitment to abortion policies among the Democratic candidates includes widespread opposition to the Hyde Amendment, an annual budget amendment since 1976 that prohibits federal tax dollars from paying for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or when it is deemed necessary to save the life of the mother. The Hyde Amendment has enjoyed longstanding bipartisan support, and attempts to repeal it over the years have failed. Pro-life advocates estimate that more than 2 million unborn lives have been saved as a result of the policy.
Few of the Democratic candidates support restrictions on late-term abortions, and the majority have pledged to enshrine Roe v. Wade in federal law, appoint only pro-abortion judges, and advocate for abortion pills to be available without a prescription.
The Planned Parenthood Votes campaign will target Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, through digital, television, radio and mail ads, CBS News reports.
Planned Parenthood Votes is financially, structurally, and operationally independent from the group’s clinics, according to CBS News.
Still, the role that abortion plays in the non-profit’s overall work has been a subject of controversy. Last July, Planned Parenthood’s president, Dr. Leana Wen, was forced out after disagreements with board leaders over whether the organization should focus on health care or abortion advocacy.
Wen, who had been at the helm for eight months, said her goal had been to focus on health care for underserved women, while board leaders saw political advocacy in support of abortion as the organization’s priority.
Wen was replaced by Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president of Planned Parenthood, who told CBS News last year that the organization is “not political by nature” but has been politicized and forced into focusing on political advocacy.
Meanwhile, the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List and its partner Women Speak Out PAC have announced a $52 million budget for the 2020 election cycle.
In addition to phone calls and digital and mail-based ads, the campaign plans to make 4 million visits to voters before the election, focusing on Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Mallory Quigley, a spokeswoman for the groups, said the campaign will focus on educating traditional Democratic voters about the “extreme pro-abortion policies” supported by Democratic presidential and Senate candidates.
“Polls confirm what our on-the-ground experience and message testing show to be true: Democrats’ abortion radicalism is a liability for them at the ballot box,” she said. “Our focused, battle-tested voter outreach method will ensure we reach the voters who can provide President Trump and pro-life Senate candidates the winning margin on Election Day.”