Planned Parenthood hits GOP candidates on birth control

Greg Nash

The advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood is targeting Republicans in key Senate races for supporting the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling on birth-control coverage.

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The group is pushing online ads attacking Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Cory Gardner in Colorado, Joni Ernst in Iowa, Dan Sullivan in Alaska and Greg Abbott in Texas for their stance on the decision and on abortion rights.

“It is unbelievable that in 2014, there are still candidates running against birth control — and they want to go even farther than the Supreme Court did, working to repeal the entire birth control benefit, and supporting so-called ‘personhood’ measures that could interfere with personal, private decisions about birth control and a whole host of other health care decisions, including a woman’s ability to access fertility treatment,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Votes.

Republicans hailed last month’s ruling by the Supreme Court that some privately held companies can be exempted from the mandate to provide contraception coverage to workers if it violates their religious beliefs.

Democrats have proposed legislation to reverse the Supreme Court’s ruling and are seeking to make the birth-control decision a rallying cry for the midterm election.

The races being targeted by Planned Parenthood are key in the battle for control of the Senate. Republicans are aiming to pick up seats in all of the states, with the exception of Texas, as they seek to win the majority that has eluded them for eight years.

On Tuesday, another supporter of abortion rights, NARAL Pro-Choice America, also hit Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) with a 30-second television ad in his home state for supporting the Hobby Lobby ruling and accused him of “never doing the right thing for Kentucky women.”

McConnell is facing a tough reelection campaign against Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. On Tuesday, he said Senate Republicans would put forward legislation in response to the Hobby Lobby ruling that would guarantee employers can’t block their workers from buying contraceptives.

“We plan to introduce legislation this week that says no employer can block any employee from legal access to her FDA-approved contraceptives," McConnell said. “There’s no disagreement on that fundamental point.”

— This story was updated at 11:25 a.m.