Planned Parenthood announces $45M campaign to defeat Trump, flip Senate

Planned Parenthood’s super PAC announced a $45 million electoral campaign on Wednesday to defeat President Trump and Republicans in key Senate races. 

The investment will fund a “large-scale” grassroots organization and canvass, digital, television, radio and mail programs. 

{mosads}”The stakes are higher than ever, and we’re coming out more powerfully than ever with the largest investment we’ve ever made,” said Kelley Robinson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, in an interview with The Hill. 

The campaign will focus on Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 

Those states are must-wins for Trump. But Republican senators are also fighting to keep their seats in Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina in races that will determine which party controls the Senate after 2020.

The campaign, which could exceed $45 million, will tell voters there is a “coordinated attack” among Republicans in state legislatures, Congress and the White House to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that established the right to an abortion.

The message is a unique one with the potential to mobilize women and people of color to vote in 2020, Robinson said. 

“We know we’re going to have a critical role mobilizing those folks to win back the Senate and expand the path to 270 to win back the presidency,” Robinson said. 

The announcement follows a fraught year for Planned Parenthood and abortion rights activists. 

Planned Parenthood left the federal family planning program in August after the Trump administration began enforcing a ban on abortion referrals, dealing a major blow to the women’s health care provider, which has 600 clinics across the country. 

Planned Parenthood argues the ban is a “gag rule” on doctors that prevents them from telling women where they can get abortions. 

Planned Parenthood, which served more than 40 percent of patients in that program, gave up millions of dollars in federal funding by leaving it.

Several states also passed bans or restrictions on abortion this year, leading Planned Parenthood to declare a “state of emergency” for women’s health.  

Planned Parenthood saw internal turmoil this year as well with the firing of its former president, Dr. Leana Wen. 

Wen had claimed she was fired after nine months on the job because she had “philosophical” disagreements with the board of directors on how to handle attacks on abortion access, saying she viewed it as a health care issue while they saw it as a political one. 

Planned Parenthood staffers, however, have vehemently denied Wen’s characterization and instead said she had poor leadership and management skills. 

Alexis McGill Johnson, a Planned Parenthood board member, will serve as acting president through the end of the elections. 

Wednesday’s announcement comes days after the Supreme Court announced it would hear its first abortion case since Trump’s two conservative justices joined the court. 

Planned Parenthood and anti-abortion groups have been fundraising off of the decision, noting the Supreme Court’s decision could shape abortion access in the U.S. for years to come. 

The Trump administration also asked the Supreme Court Tuesday to reverse a lower court’s ruling that its rollback of ObamaCare’s contraceptive mandate is unlawful. 

The mandate requires insurance plans offer contraceptives like the birth control pill and implants with no cost sharing for patients.

But the Trump administration has issued rules, blocked by the courts, that would allow some employers to opt out of the requirement if they have religious objections to contraceptives.

Planned Parenthood and other reproductive rights groups argue the rules would let businesses interfere in their workers’ personal health care decisions.

Updated at 12:24 p.m.

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