Planned Parenthood announces that it will spend $40 million ahead of November's election

Planned Parenthood is set to invest $40 million in the upcoming November elections to support President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats, the Associated Press recently reported. 

The focus will be on key states like Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, where abortion rights are a significant issue following the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade. 

The group aims to mobilize voters through canvassing, phone banking, and extensive advertising.

Election strategy amid ongoing abortion debates

Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, told the Associated Press that abortion will be a central issue in the election. 

"Abortion will be the message of this election, and it will be how we energize voters," Lawson said. "It will be what enables us to win." 

This move comes as abortion access remains a contentious topic, with new restrictions in many Republican-led states. 

The allocation of $40 million follows previous spending, including $45 million in 2020 and $50 million in 2022, reflecting the organization's commitment to influencing key races.

The political and advocacy arms of Planned Parenthood shared the announcement with The Associated Press before its wider release on Monday. 

The targeted states include Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Montana, New Hampshire, and New York. These states are crucial for defending Biden's 2020 wins, flipping North Carolina, and controlling the Senate and House. The push will involve volunteer and paid canvassing programs, phone banking, and advertising through digital, TV, and mail channels.

Local efforts and the significance of abortion in elections

"We continue to see the devastation that comes when anti-abortion politicians have power," Lawson said, noting the impact of restrictive abortion laws over the past two years. In states like California, Michigan, and Vermont, voters have sided with abortion-rights supporters in ballot measures, showcasing the importance of the issue.

In November, voters in several states, including battlegrounds like Arizona and Nevada, will have abortion referendums on the ballot. Florida, a traditionally Republican state, also has an abortion ballot initiative that Biden’s campaign hopes will drive turnout.

Planned Parenthood's advocacy efforts are not limited to national campaigns. Local organizations in states such as California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio are planning advocacy campaigns ahead of November. 

These efforts will focus on down-ballot races, such as aiding Democrats seeking a supermajority in the Nevada statehouse and opposing state supreme court justices in Arizona who have supported restrictive abortion laws.

"We can’t just vote for ballot initiatives," said Lindsey Harmon, executive director for Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates PAC. "We also have to support the infrastructure that makes abortion access possible."

Counter efforts from pro-life groups

SBA Pro-Life America, one of the country’s most prominent anti-abortion groups, announced plans in February to spend $92 million targeting voters in battleground states, including Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Montana, and Georgia. This is part of a broader strategy to counter Planned Parenthood’s efforts and promote pro-life candidates.

A spokesperson for SBA Pro-Life America criticized Planned Parenthood’s spending, saying it highlights the abortion lobby’s desperation to maintain abortion access. The spokesperson stressed the importance of pro-life candidates defining their stance and exposing what they see as the extremism of their opponents on abortion issues.

Impact of the Supreme Court's decision and future outlook

Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2022, the landscape around abortion rights has significantly shifted. Most Republican-controlled states have imposed new restrictions, including some bans at every stage of pregnancy. Despite these challenges, Planned Parenthood remains focused on mobilizing voters and advocating for reproductive rights.

"Abortion will be the message of this election, and it will be how we energize voters," said Lawson. "It will be what enables us to win." 

As the November elections approach, the battle over abortion rights continues to shape political strategies and voter engagement efforts across the country. 

With significant spending from both Planned Parenthood and pro-life groups, the outcome of key races will likely hinge on how effectively each side can rally their supporters and communicate their messages to voters.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. It was reported from Los Angeles.