‘This is only the beginning. Planned Parenthood is going to harness this energy with all of our partners here to lead the charge to fight back…’
(Sandhya Raman, CQ-Roll Call) Pro-abortion groups outlined the political races they plan to target Wednesday, a day after the groups organized 500 events across the country.
Pro-life groups countered with plans to sharpen the Republican platform with stricter anti-abortion language, a day after some groups met at the White House.
The moves come on the heels of recently passed state restrictions on abortion in six states that will all face court challenges.
In anticipation of a possible Supreme Court ruling overturning the federal Roe v. Wade and other abortion laws, blue states have also attempted to pass less restrictive abortion laws recently, such as one in New York that controversially allows third-trimester abortions.
Four states this year passed laws banning abortion at six weeks of pregnancy, while Alabama and Missouri also passed more comprehensive laws with strict bans.
Hogue said NARAL is now starting to rally its supporters in key voting demographics ahead of the 2020 elections in these and other states.
Similarly, Planned Parenthood is working in states such as Georgia, Missouri, Alabama and Ohio, and building on a digital ad campaign that will begin airing next week targeting vulnerable U.S. senators running next year.
“This is only the beginning. Planned Parenthood is going to harness this energy with all of our partners here to lead the charge to fight back,” Wen said.
“We are mobilizing our activities in our top targeted states and laying these extreme bills at the feet of governors, state legislators and other anti-abortion politicians,” she said.
Hogue, who is from Texas, said the groups are playing the long game to also flip state legislatures to prevent future abortion bans.
“With regard to the states in 2020, I think we’re going to see a lot of gains in Georgia, Ohio for sure. We’ll pick up a couple seats in Missouri, I’ll anticipate,” she said.
Anthony Romero, executive director at the America Civil Liberties Union, said important races are taking place even in 2019, including the gubernatorial election in Kentucky. In that state, GOP Gov. Matt Bevin has been a strong abortion opponent, and is being challenged by Democrat Andy Beshear.
“The 2020 election will be super important because it will be a referendum,” Romero said.
But he warned that the lasting effects of current policies won’t be solved immediately even if they flip seats. “Part of what we’ve had to do is to message to our constituents and our supporters, that we are likely to be in a … battle that lasts several years,” he said.
Pro-life groups are pursuing a two-pronged approach—pushing for further restrictions while also increasing efforts on issues beyond abortion they believe could even win Democratic support.
A number of prominent pro-life groups wrote a letter to GOP Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel on Wednesday asking Republicans to further limit the exceptions allowed for certain abortions supported by federal funding.
The Hyde amendment, an annual appropriations rider that lists the requirements for using federal funds to pay for abortion, only provides exceptions for rape, incest and to protect the life of the woman.
The groups, in light of recently passed state laws that would prohibit most abortions even in cases of rape and incest, argue it’s time for the Hyde amendment to be updated to be more restrictive.
“We understand that issues like rape and incest are difficult topics to tackle; nevertheless, it is our view that the value of human life is not determined by the circumstances of one’s conception or birth,” the groups wrote to McDaniel.
Shifting the party’s stance will likely be divisive, and not all of the biggest abortion opponents have signed onto the letter.
Even President Donald Trump, who has close ties to the pro-life movement, recently tweeted he opposes eliminating the rape and incest exceptions in abortion laws.
White House officials Tuesday met with conservative groups including the Family Research Council, Students for Life of America, and the Independent Women’s Forum, according to an attendee.
Ivanka Trump attended the event, which focused on issues besides abortion such as ways to empower young parents through policies including family leave and being able to reallocate Social Security funds to be used for family expenses.
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