Oct 9, 2019

Planned Parenthood plans massive spending campaign for 2020

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

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Judge blocks rule that denies health services based on moral, religious grounds

A federal judge in New York rejected a Trump administration rule on Wednesday that would have allowed medical workers to deny services based on their religion or ideology, including abortion or sex reassignment surgery.

The big picture: The most restrictive abortion laws in generations are being challenged in courts across America's red states. This rule from the Department of Health and Human Services was challenged by several women's groups and individual states that claimed it was unconstitutional, AP reports.

Go deeper: Planned Parenthood plans massive spending campaign for 2020

Second-term Supreme Court cases to watch

Photo: Nurphoto/Getty Images

The Supreme Court, now with a solid conservative majority after Justice Brett Kavanaugh's appointment, is hearing cases that could have long-term ramifications on immigration, LGBTQ employment protections and access to abortion.

The big picture: The high court — with 5 conservatives and 4 liberals — kept a relatively low profile in its first term this year. But it could hand major wins to Republicans in 2020's second term, emboldened by Kavanaugh's appointment and sharpening their focus as a slew of hot-button disputes work their way up from lower courts.

Key cases to watchArrowUpdated Oct 18, 2019

Federal judge temporarily blocks Alabama abortion bill

Pro-choice protesters gather at the Supreme Court on May 21 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction on Tuesday, temporarily halting Alabama's restrictive abortion ban from taking effect on Nov. 15, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The ruling, issued by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, is an "early step in a legal confrontation that critics of abortion orchestrated to try to reach the United States Supreme Court," the Times writes. The legislation would make it a felony for doctors to perform an abortion under almost any circumstance, including rape or incest.

Go deeperArrowOct 29, 2019