Planned Parenthood’s intention to spend millions of dollars to support political candidates who favor legal abortion shows the need to speak out more on the issue, pro-life groups say.
“There are no winners, except those making money by selling abortions, when Big Abortion leader Planned Parenthood pours millions into America's elections,” Lila Rose, the president of the pro-life group Live Action, told Fox News Feb. 27.
The abortion provider’s political arms, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the political action committee Planned Parenthood Votes, have said they intend to spend more than $18 million on 2014 races, including the $2.4 million spent to help defeat Ken Cuccinelli, the pro-life Republican candidate for Virginia in 2013.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat who supports legal abortion, credited Planned Parenthood as a “key partner” in his campaign for governor. He said the group provided “essential support” for his campaign.
The abortion provider’s monetary goals are significantly higher than in previous years. In the 2012 elections, its political spending reached $12 million, mainly through its action fund and through Planned Parenthood Votes, Politico reports. In the 2010 midterm elections, its action fund spent $4.2 million.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, told Politico that the funding announcement shows the need for action.
“We cannot afford another election cycle of crouching in a fetal position and hoping the attacks go away,” she said.
Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster who has criticized the Republican Party’s failure to counter attacks related to abortion, told Politico that the party has been ignoring the issue.
She said Planned Parenthood has succeeded politically in part because Republicans do not defend their views and do not hold Democrats accountable for their opposition to popular legal limitations on abortion.
Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said her organization will “absolutely be on the offense.” She told Politico many political races will be determined “by women and women voters” and her organization will oppose “politicians who are running on a platform to repeal women’s access to health care and women’s rights.”
The action fund plans to use tactics including paid advertising on television and online, in addition to voter-contact efforts like knocking on doors and campaign mailers.
The political branches of the abortion provider plan to be active in at least 14 states. They are targeting Senate races in North Carolina, Alaska and Montana as well as governor’s races in Pennsylvania, Florida and Texas, Politico reports.
The action fund is also watching U.S. Senate races in Iowa, Michigan and New Hampshire as well as the governor’s race in Wisconsin.