One the nation’s foremost advocates for women’s reproductive health is putting its money where its mouth is this election cycle, dumping some $20 million into major elections across the nation, including in Michigan.
“We all know there’s a lot at stake in Michigan in 2018 and 2020,” said John Keserich, director of political field operations for Michigan Planned Parenthood Votes. “For the past eight years, we’ve seen Bill Schuette and other conservatives chip away at women’s access to safe, legal, constitutionally-protected abortions, birth control and medically accurate sex education. We know exactly how terrifying he would be as Michigan’s governor, especially with allies in the Legislature.
“His policies have endangered the health and safety of our communities for years. We’re doing everything we can to protect women and families from four more years of his anti-choice agenda,” Keserich said.
Planned Parenthood Votes and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political committee and political/advocacy arms of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, respectively, announced today their electoral program, March. Vote. Win., which seeks to elect reproductive healthcare champions in the mid-term elections in 2018.
The program aims to build TV, digital, and mail programs to tap into grassroots supporters who have, since the election of Donald Trump, brought forth electoral victories in states like Virginia and New Jersey.
“Today we have a clear message for politicians who are undermining our freedoms and making it harder to get healthcare: We’re voting you out in 2018,” said Deidre Schifeling, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, in a statement about the initiative.
“The Trump-Pence administration is responsible for an unprecedented assault on Planned Parenthood patients and our communities, aided by politicians at state and federal levels who have supported dangerous policies meant to strip us of our rights and our ability to access healthcare. In response, we’ve marched, we’ve mobilized, we’ve organized, and together we’ve built a historic resistance,” she said. “Now, our electoral program is going to channel that energy and the activism into electoral victories across the country in 2018.”
Michigan is one of eight states the initiative will be targeting, and one of five states in the Midwest. The other states the program will invest in are Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, though the group said it is likely to invest in other states as well.
Perhaps the most egregious case against women’s reproductive healthcare in Michigan was that of the “rape insurance” bill that went into effect in March 2014. It requires a woman to purchase an additional insurance policy if she wants reimbursement for an abortion – unless her life is at stake – even if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.
The groups assert reproductive healthcare and rights played a key role in the Democratic victory of Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam in November 2017. In the days before the election, Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC talked to undecided voters about reproductive healthcare and moved voters towards Ralph Northam, they said.
And in polling, they found reproductive healthcare and rights messaging created “significant movement” among key parts of the electorate. That’s because, they said, “voters overwhelmingly oppose blocking access to care at Planned Parenthood.”
Twenty national polls showed overwhelming support for Planned Parenthood, they said, and a Quinnipiac poll found 80 percent of American voters were opposed to “defunding” Planned Parenthood and blocking patients who rely on Medicaid from accessing preventive and essential health care.
“We’ve already seen millions across the country rise up. With the launch of March. Vote. Win., we’re taking this fight to the ballot box,” Schifeling said. “We are going to ensure that our elected officials have our backs.”