Abortion Groups Pump Millions Into Failed Congressional Races

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 31: (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
November 6, 2020

Top abortion interest groups pumped millions of dollars into big-ticket Democratic House and Senate candidates, only to be met with a large number of defeats across the country.

Emily's List spent millions of dollars in 2020 attempting to elect pro-abortion candidates but the group's biggest bets fizzled out on election night. The group spent more than $100,000 a piece on 13 different races, for a total of more than $2 million; 10 of those candidates lost or are projected to lose. The group had an especially rough night in Senate elections, as Barbara Bollier in Kansas, Theresa Greenfield in Iowa, MJ Hegar in Texas, and Sara Gideon in Maine were handily defeated despite receiving a combined $950,000 in donations.

In the House, incumbent congresswomen Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Xochitl Torres Small both lost reelection campaigns. Despite massive efforts to turn Texas blue, with the help of Emily's List, Democratic House candidates were unable to triumph in their elections. Gina Ortiz-Jones lost her race in Texas's 23rd district and Candace Valenzua in Texas's 24th. In New York, Jacqueline Gordon and Lauren Underwood are both projected to lose their races.

Planned Parenthood announced a major spending initiative targeting nine swing states with $45 million in contributions and advertising that met some success. The Senate race in Arizona was called in favor of Democrat Mark Kelly, flipping the seat for Senate Democrats. Outside of this spending, the group unsuccessfully backed Gideon, Hegar, and Greenfield with a combined $59,000 in spending in the Senate along with $22,000 for losing House candidate Wendy Davis in Texas. One major victory for the group came with the backing of Texas candidate Lizzie Fletcher, who defeated Wesley Hunt in Texas's Seventh Congressional District.

NARAL Pro-Choice America pumped donations into Senate races as well, including $10,000 in support for South Carolina candidate Jaime Harrison, to no avail.

Emily's List, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL did not respond to requests for comment.

Early results from an exit poll indicate that the Supreme Court, which has been pushed in a conservative direction by three of President Trump's appointees, played an equal role in determining the votes of pro-life and pro-choice voters. Control of the U.S. Senate will come down to two races in Georgia that will draw national attention and significant funding from both sides of the abortion issue.

Abortion rights groups did mark a victory in Colorado, however, where voters rejected a referendum to restrict abortion after 22 weeks with an exception for the health of the mother. In Louisiana, voters passed a referendum establishing that no constitutional right to an abortion exists.