Planned Parenthood to Spend $15 million on 2014 Elections

Thursday, 27 Feb 2014 07:18 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Planned Parenthood's political affiliates will spend more than $15 million on congressional and state races in 2014, Politico reported.

The organization intends to be active in U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races in more than a dozen states. Counting money already spent electing Virginia's Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe in 2013, the group is likely to surpass $18 million in expenditures, Politico said. McAuliffe called the group a "key partner" in his campaign.

State races could have a bigger impact on the group's agenda than congressional contests. In Texas, for example, Planned Parenthood is pushing the gubernatorial candidacy of state  Sen. Wendy Davis.

The group's politicking includes door-to-door campaigning as well as new and old media advertising.

Republicans have targeted Planned Parenthood for its abortion services. However, Mitt Romney's presidential campaign promise to end Planned Parenthood's federal funding may have rebounded negatively with some women voters. Democrats will be on offense pointing to the other medical services Planned Parenthood provides from Pap tests and breast exams to treatment for sexually transmitted disease and birth control.

"The bottom line is: Many of these races are going to be determined by women and women voters. To the extent that we still have politicians who are running on a platform to repeal women's access to health care and women's rights, that's a losing proposition," said Cecile Richards, who heads Planned Parenthood's Action Fund, according to Politico.

Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster, wants to see the GOP take a more assertive stance. She has described past Republican strategy toward Planned Parenthood as "ignore it like you're a pregnant teenager, hoping it'll go away, and nine months later it's a really big issue."

She said Republicans needed to be more confident in their own position on abortion particularly in states such as Louisiana and Texas where taking the offense could bring success.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the Susan B. Anthony List, said pro-life forces "cannot afford another election cycle of crouching in a fetal position and hoping the attacks go away," Politico reported.

Planned Parenthood's global assets are about $1.6 billion, according to its latest annual report. It said it spent about $30 million on political advocacy.

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