The political wing of Planned Parenthood has gubernatorial, House, and Senate races in eight states in its sights in what it is its biggest mid-term push ever. The campaign by Planned Parenthood will cost at least $20 million, a cost that its officials say will almost certainly be exceeded in helping Democrats win seats.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes make the abortion provider one of the largest entities funding Democratic candidates from outside the Democratic Party. They are seeking to capitalize on momentum that stems from the Women's March on Washington, which came on the day after President Donald Trump was sworn into office last year. Besides Planned Parenthood, various feminist, leftist, and progressives joined in the widely-reported March.
Planned Parenthood is targeting Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Last year, the organization spent $4.5 million on gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, and won in both. The priorities are those states with competitive races for Senate seats and for governorships; the latter being essential to the congressional redistricting following the 2020 Census and into the presidential race.
For Planned Parenthood, Arizona and Nevada present opportunities. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R) is retiring, while Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (R) is seen as vulnerable in a state that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Democrats and Planned Parenthood see targets in California, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. Planned Parenthood is backing Democrats in primaries. For example, Democrat Marie Newman is seeking to replace a pro-life Democrat R. Dan Lipinski.
Planned Parenthood calls its mid-term campaign “March.Vote.Win,” and will consist of direct mail, door canvassing, digital and TV buys. Cecile Richards, who is stepping down as leader of the organization, set the groundwork for the push.
A tribute to the power of Planned Parenthood was the defeat of a Senate bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, 51-46, on January 29. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would have liked to have seen it pass, two pro-abortion Democrat senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins, crossed the aisle and voted with Democrats, citing concerns over the availability of abortion.
POLITICO reported in June 2017, for instance, that Sen. Murkowski wrote a letter to a constituent in Alaska that she remained committed to federal funding for Planned Parenthood as part of the disputed health care bill. Murkowski wrote, "I am committed to ensuring that important provisions of the ACA, such as covering those with pre-existing conditions, continued support for Medicaid expansion, coverage for dependents and no lifetime limits, and funding for Planned Parenthood remain intact."
Planned Parenthood owns Democrats
In an opinion piece at USA Today titled “If the NRA owns Republicans, Planned Parenthood owns Democrats,” Christian Schneider wrote that legacy media does not report and thus the public does not know how much Democrats owe to Planned Parenthood. He pointed out, for example, that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) of Massachusetts received $16,000 in 2017 from Planned Parenthood even while she demanded continuing government subsidies to the organization to the tune of $500 million annually. “Contrast that with coverage Republicans receive after any mass shooting in America,” Schneider wrote. “Suddenly, the National Rifle Association is unmasked as the GOP puppet master, blocking any and all ‘common sense’ legislation to cut down on gun violence.”
He cited misleading data published by The New York Times that purported to show how much Republicans had received the most help “from the NRA” even while mocking of citizens’ “thoughts and prayers” for shooting victims. Schneider wrote:
“The double standard is clear: When Democrats work on behalf of a special interest that aborts millions of children, they are doing so from a place of conscience and ideological purity. When Republicans argue in favor of Second Amendment rights, it is because they have been bought off by a disfavored lobbying group looking to profit from carnage. (Or as comedian Jimmy Kimmel diplomatically put it, the NRA has the GOP’s ‘balls in a money clip.’)”