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A Portland Planned Parenthood in 2015. Photo: Whitney Hayward/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Planned Parenthood and its super PAC announced on Wednesday a plan to spend at least $45 million to support Democratic and pro-abortion rights candidates in 2020 state and federal elections, NPR reports.

Why it matters: The organization says that this is its largest electoral effort ever. While Planned Parenthood's 2020 spending is focused on elections and unseating President Trump, the Supreme Court just agreed to hear a case involving one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, marking the first time the high court will hear an abortion case with a solidified conservative majority.

  • If the Supreme Court upholds Louisiana's law, it could be more difficult to prove in court that state abortion restrictions are unconstitutional.

Details: Planned Parenthood is focused on 5 million U.S. voters and 9 states for 2020 election spending, including Colorado, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Michigan and North Carolina.

By the numbers: The organization's PAC, Planned Parenthood Votes, has spent $4.2 million from Q1 to Q3 of 2019, according to the FEC. It has only spent about $5,200 against 2020 Republicans as of August 2019.

  • During the 2018 midterms, Planned Parenthood's PAC spent a total of $5.2 million in support of Democratic candidates and against GOP candidates.
  • The 2016 presidential election cycle saw $8.9 million raised by Planned Parenthood's PAC against Republican candidates.

What they're saying: "This year what we're finding is that people really understand exactly what's at stake," Kelley Robinson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, told NPR. "The stakes are higher than ever, and our donors and our supporters understand that very clearly."

  • Jeanne Mancini, president of the anti-abortion advocacy group March for Life, said on Wednesday that Planned Parenthood's $45 million spending initiative in battleground states "is no surprise."
  • "[T]his Administration has implemented a pro-life agenda in many areas, including the Protecting Life in Global Health Policy and new Title X regulations, both of which impacted Planned Parenthood’s bottom line," Mancini said.

Go deeper: In the Supreme Court, it's all been building to this

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

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