The move comes after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 opinion which purported that abortion is protected under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, through its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. As many states tighten regulations on abortion, Planned Parenthood executives are seeking to change the outcome of state and federal elections on behalf of “pregnant people” — a term used by activists as a nod to individuals identifying as transgender.
“This is an election about power and control,” Planned Parenthood Votes Executive Director Jenny Lawson said in a statement. “Should these out-of-touch politicians gain or stay in power, they will continue doing everything they can to ban all abortion, throw health care providers and pregnant people in jail, and endanger the health and lives of pregnant people across the country.”
The organization will use an “influx of support” that followed the end of Roe v. Wade to bankroll election efforts in Georgia, Nevada, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Planned Parenthood branches will also run campaigns in Colorado, California, Maine, Ohio, and Florida.
Planned Parenthood conducted 354,871 “abortion procedures” between October 2018 and September 2019, according to the group’s most recent annual report, amounting to 972 abortions per day and 41 abortions per hour across the United States.
“Big stakes require big investment, which is why this fall Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations will run our largest-ever electoral campaign to preserve and expand abortion access in as many states as possible,” Lawson added. “From now until Election Day, we’ll make sure voters know who’s on their side and channel their dissent into political power at the ballot box.”
Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood was joined by NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY’s List in announcing a $150 million midterm spending initiative. Though the Supreme Court had not yet issued its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, the organizations argued that the funds would help African Americans and Hispanics, who are particularly subject to “systemic barriers and abortion restrictions.”
Indeed, midterm election outcomes in many state legislature and gubernatorial races could allow Republican lawmakers to pass more abortion regulations. Yet beginning with the leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson in early May, several large corporations began announcing that they would pay travel expenses for employees seeking abortions in more left-leaning states.
“Our company remains committed to removing barriers and providing comprehensive access to quality and affordable care for all of our employees, cast members and their families, including family planning and reproductive care, no matter where they live,” executives from Disney said in a memo. The entertainment conglomerate employs 75,000 people in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) recently signed legislation banning abortions after 15 weeks gestation.
Companies such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Levi Strauss, Amazon, and Apple launched similar policies. Yelp Chief Diversity Officer Miriam Warren recently told CNN that her company’s offering has been a “wonderful recruiting tool in terms of prospective employees saying, ‘I want to work at a company that is out there and loud about what they believe in, and what they care about.’”
Polls indicate that most Americans would prefer that abortion either be legal in most cases or illegal in most cases. Only 8% of the population concur that abortion should be illegal with no exceptions, according to Pew Research Center.
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