Planned Parenthood to launch $1.25M Pa. push to help Biden, down ballot Dems

    Protesters at the Supreme Court in March 2020, when the justices were hearing arguments in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo. Robin Bravender/States Newsroom

    With control of the White House, Congress and the General Assembly on the line this fall, Planned Parenthood’s campaign wing has announced it’s launching a $1.25 million push in the Keystone State to get Democrats elected up and down the ballot.

    The effort, which primarily focuses on lifting former Vice President Joe Biden to a victory in a state that President Donald Trump carried by barely a percentage point in 2016, kicks off Thursday off with a virtual launch event, according to a statement Planned Parenthood Votes.

    The outreach, which will include a mix of digital and direct mail outreach, aims to reach 65,000 voters statewide by Election Day, highlighting, among other issues the Trump administration’s gag rule on Title X, which provided affordable reproductive health care and contraception to low income people.

    The move was largely viewed as an attempt to choke off federal funding to Planned Parenthood. Existing law already prohibits the use of federal money for abortions. Biden has pledged to repeal the rule if he wins in November.

    “From making sure that Pennsylvania’s electoral votes go to Scranton-native Vice President Joe Biden, to sending reproductive rights champions to Congress, Planned Parenthood Votes will serve as a significant force in this 2020 election cycle,” spokesperson Emily Callen said in a statement. “We Decide 2020 is the largest electoral program ever for Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations, with a historic investment of at least $45 million in key battleground states.”

    In addition to Biden, the campaign will support state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who has sued the administration over its efforts to constrain access to abortion and reproductive health services. Shapiro, a Montgomery County Democrat, faces a challenge from Republican Heather Heidelbaugh, a trial lawyer, and a former member of Allegheny County Council.

    The Planned Parenthood campaign also will take in two of the most closely watched congressional contests in the country: The 1st District race between GOP U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, of Bucks County, and Democrat Christina Finello; and the all-York County fight in central Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional district between Democratic Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and GOP incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Perry.

    “For years, we’ve watched anti-abortion politicians like Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick and Scott Perry vote to defund Planned Parenthood and attack abortion access, affordable birth control, and so much more,” Callen said in a statement,. The stakes for our health and livelihoods have never been higher — we can’t afford another four years of Trump working with representatives like Perry and Fitzpatrick to turn back the clock.

    Further down the ballot,  Planned Parenthood is looking to flip a pair of state House seats in central Pennsylvania, and one in western Pennsylvania formerly held by House Speaker Mike Turzai, as well as two state Senate seats, one in Lancaster County, the other in Delaware County.

    They’re also working to re-elect three, incumbent state lawmakers, Reps. Jennifer O’Mara, D-Delaware, and Kristine C. Howard, D-Chester, as well as state Sen. Pam Iovino, D-Allegheny.

    Democrats believe they have their best chance in years in recapturing the 203-member House, which has been in Republican hands for a decade.

    John L. Micek
    A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press