Planned Parenthood plans $10 million GOTV effort

Planned Parenthood used Tuesday’s 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion to announce a $10 million effort aimed at turning out voters for candidates who support abortion rights.

The One Million Strong effort seeks to mobilize thousands of supporters to turn out 1 million voters. It piggybacks similar efforts by other pro-abortion rights groups such as EMILY’s List and NARAL Pro-Choice America that also are spending tens of millions on the 2008 elections.

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The expenditure is unprecedented for Planned Parenthood’s political arm, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. The group in recent years has gradually waded into political waters; it endorsed its first presidential candidate in 2004 — Sen. John KerryJohn KerrySenate GOP healthcare plan is the next man-made disaster Changing America: America’s growing education divide Speaker Ryan, the fate of our policy toward Russia rests in your hands MORE (D-Mass.).

“The stakes have never been higher for women and for families that we serve every single day,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. “Our patients are seeing more restrictions, less access to affordable family planning, and young adults … are getting less and less information that they need to stay healthy.”

The Supreme Court is closely divided over abortion, and if either of the court’s two oldest members retired, their replacement could become the decisive fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Planned Parenthood’s effort will likely key on women and young voters, but micro-targeting research will further focus the scope, said Geoffrey Garin, president of the polling firm Hart Research Associates.

Sam Smoot, the national field director for the Action Fund, said events all over the country will kick off the campaign, and a massive recruitment effort will begin to staff the fund at the national, state and local levels.

Over the final eight weeks of the election, she said, a federation-wide push will begin to turn out the votes.