WASHINGTON—Planned Parenthood plans to spend a record $50 million ahead of November's midterm elections, pouring money into contests where access to abortion will be on the ballot.
The effort, which breaks the group's previous $45 million spending record set in 2020, comes about two months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion. It will be waged by the organization's political and advocacy arms and will focus on governor's offices, U.S. Senate seats, and legislative races in nine states where access to abortion could be restricted or expanded depending on the outcome at the ballot.
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 in a bid to drive turnout by Democratic and independent voters.
“Who wins in these midterm elections will determine whether a state has access to abortion and potentially determine whether we will face a national abortion ban,” said Jenny Lawson, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes. “We will be clear about who is on which side.”
Earlier this month in red-state Kansas, voters rejected by nearly 20 percentage points a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the legislature to advance a ban on abortion.
Whether it truly is a galvanizing issue will become clear after Election Day, Nov. 8.
Planned Parenthood says it intends to contact 6 million voters through door knocking, phone calls, digital advertising, mailers, and radio ads. It has already run some TV ads in Wisconsin, where Republicans control the statehouse and where Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson are up for reelection.
It also is launching a website, takecontrol2022.com.
While the Supreme Court's ruling in June effectively left setting abortion policy to the states, Planned Parenthood says it is also investing in U.S. Senate races because Republicans have expressed an interest in pursuing a national abortion ban, though such a measure would almost certainly be vetoed by President Joe Biden.
Democrats and their allies have long tried, without much success, to energize supporters by focusing on abortion. But the Supreme Court’s decision clarified the stakes as never before. In roughly a dozen states led by Republicans, abortion has already been banned or heavily restricted. Many more are expected to follow.