Planned Parenthood to Blitz GOP Seats, Betting Abortion Fears Can Sway Voters

Molly Castle Work

Planned Parenthood is making ready a seven-figure campaign blitz to oust GOP incumbents from California congressional seats, half of a bigger nationwide effort by the reproductive rights group to forestall a Republican majority from passing abortion restrictions, together with a nationwide ban.

Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California is focusing on eight districts the place voters largely backed Republicans in 2022 at the same time as they endorsed a constitutional amendment enshrining entry to abortion and contraceptives. The promoting plan goes unfavorable by specializing in every incumbent’s document of voting in opposition to entry to abortion and contraceptives. In the previous, the group riffed on the “Burn Book” from the 2004 comedy “Mean Girls.”

GOP celebration officers stated they had been assured voters in these districts would take a look at the larger image and return Republicans to workplace. And one incumbent dismissed the notion that there’s a menace to reproductive care within the Golden State.

“Access to abortion and other reproductive care aren’t going anywhere in California,” stated Calvin Moore, a spokesperson for Rep. Ken Calvert of Riverside County. “Congressman Calvert believes this is a deeply personal issue that should be left up to the states and opposes a national abortion ban.”

With 52 seats, liberal California may tip the scales for management of the U.S. House this fall. But Planned Parenthood has its work lower out for it since seven of the seats it’s focusing on are at present held by Republicans and just one — to be vacated by Democrat Katie Porter after an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate — is open.

According to The Cook Political Report, 4 are toss-up races; Rep. Michelle Steel’s district, largely in Orange County, leans Republican; and Reps. Kevin Kiley, who represents a district alongside California’s japanese border, and Young Kim, who represents a district east of Anaheim, are more likely to win.

Abortion has proved to be an even bigger subject for a lot of voters than political analysts might have anticipated. “In many of these seats, I think voters care about their reproductive freedoms and they resonate with our message, so we think we’re going to win,” stated Jodi Hicks, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California.

While Planned Parenthood is concentrated on House races, Hicks stated it is usually monitoring neighboring states. One California department, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, stretches into Reno, Nevada, and its advocacy arm has been actively supporting a Nevada ballot initiative that might constitutionally defend Nevadans’ proper to abortion.

Nationally, the group plans to spend $40 million in at the least eight states: Arizona, Georgia, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

In California, Planned Parenthood goals to spotlight the document of members of Congress like Kiley, who voted to potentially impose prison sentences on docs who present abortions. Calvert, Kim, Steel, and Reps. Mike Garcia, of northern Los Angeles County, and David Valadao, of the Central Valley, voted against entry to contraception. And Garcia, Valadao, and Steel co-sponsored a bill to successfully ban abortions nationwide.

Assembly Republican chief James Gallagher, who’s on the California Republican Party board, stated many Californians don’t belief Democrats to guard their well being care rights even when political leaders assist abortion being authorized, mentioning that underneath Democrats maternity wards have closed and hospitals have filed for bankruptcy.

“Democrats don’t really have a great record in California right now on women’s health care issues,” Gallagher stated. “So I think it just rings a little bit hollow.”

According to a February KFF poll on abortion as a 2024 election subject, about half of Republican voters who assist it being authorized belief their very own celebration extra on the difficulty, whereas 8% belief the Democratic Party extra. One in three stated they don’t belief both political celebration on the difficulty.

Ivy Cargile, an affiliate professor of political science at California State University-Bakersfield, stated it could be difficult to impress voters on the difficulty since many Californians are assured their reproductive rights are protected within the deep-blue state. “Voters might be thinking that California is so progressive, so reproductive rights are safe,” Cargile stated. “But federal law does trump state law.”

Planned Parenthood will impress upon Central Valley and Southern California voters that remaining loyal to Republicans dangers a nationwide abortion ban. A big a part of its promoting marketing campaign will deal with connecting the dots for voters, arguing assist for reproductive rights requires voting for Democratic candidates.

“California is so pivotal to ensure that we’re winning at the national level,” Hicks stated.

Gallagher stated the GOP’s deal with inflation and public security will resonate with voters in California’s extra conservative districts. He and Calvert predict the races will mirror what occurred in 2022: Though voters backed the constitutional modification for reproductive rights, they supported incumbent Republicans, even those that had been anti-abortion.

California Healthline spoke to 6 voters in Garcia’s district who say they assist entry to abortion however sometimes vote for Republican candidates. All six deliberate to vote for Garcia’s reelection.

Rose Large of Santa Clarita stated that whereas she helps abortion rights, she has deeper issues with Democratic Party management on points such because the financial system and border management. Others talked about fears of rising crime and wanting to guard Second Amendment rights.

Asked if she believed Planned Parenthood’s marketing campaign would sway her or voters in her neighborhood, Large replied, “Personally, I don’t. No.”

This article was produced by KFF Health News, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially impartial service of the California Health Care Foundation. 

KFF Health News is a nationwide newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about well being points and is among the core working applications at KFF—an impartial supply of well being coverage analysis, polling, and journalism. Learn extra about KFF.


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