‘The stakes have never been higher,’ Planned Parenthood boss says of 2020 battleground push

    (Source: CBS News Screen Capture)

    [*This post has been updated to vote that the spending push has been in place since October 2019]

    Saying “the stakes have never been higher,” the head of Planned Parenthood’s political wing is promoting an effort to spend a mammoth $45 million to reach 5 million voters in nine battleground states, including Pennsylvania, to support presidential, congressional and state-level candidates.

    “[The Trump Administration} has managed to undo so much over the last three years,” Planned Parenthood Votes Executive Director Jenny Lawson told CBS News on Thursday. “The fact that this summer the Supreme Court might gut Roe v. Wade is an indicator of their intention and they’ve never been so bold.”

    The push was first announced last fall by Planned Parenthood’s national office and affiliates around the country.

    More from CBS News:

    Planned Parenthood’s electoral efforts — which the group has dubbed “We Decide 2020” — hope to reach five million voters in nine battleground states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. A spokesperson for the organization said this week was the “official start” to the strategy.

    The investment intends to fund large-scale grassroots programs and canvassing, digital, television, and radio and mail programs, according to Planned Parenthood. Just this week, the organization and its affiliated political organizations have hosted over 60 events, according to a Planned Parenthood spokesperson.

    State lawmakers introduced over 300 anti-abortion measures last year, a record-high number, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion rights research organization. Twelve states passed bans on the procedure, though all have been blocked by federal judges. Many of those other restrictions have gone into effect, however, including mandatory waiting periods and other measures designed to dissuade women from choosing an abortion.

    President Donald Trump carried Pennsylvania by 44,000 votes in 2016, defeating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and breaking a three-decade-old Democratic presidential winning streak in the Keystone State. The state’s 18-member Congressional delegation is now split, 9-9 between the GOP and Democrats.

    Democrats have made inroads in Pennsylvania’s 253-member General Assembly, but Republicans still control both the state House and Senate. Conservative GOP lawmakers have launched several attempts since 2018 to restrict abortion rights. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has vowed to veto any bill that reaches his desk.

    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