In the midst of internal turmoil, Planned Parenthood announced a $45 million spending binge to defeat Republicans in 2020 by targeting specific swing states and focusing on state-level races.
Kelley Robinson, the executive director of Planned Parenthood's super PAC, told NPR the spending is intended to combat pro-life attempts to undermine Roe v. Wade. She also said the $45 million is an "initial investment," and the group hopes to raise more money for pro-abortion causes.
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Planned Parenthood is focusing on races in nine key swing states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, according to NPR. The $45 million figure represents a significant increase over 2018, when Planned Parenthood spent almost $30 million to get Democratic lawmakers elected.
"Today, Planned Parenthood Votes and Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations are launching their largest-ever electoral effort for the 2020 cycle," the organization wrote on Twitter. "We'll fight for our rights and freedoms down the ballot in 2020."
BREAKING NEWS: Today, Planned Parenthood Votes and Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations are launching their largest-ever electoral effort for the 2020 cycle. We'll fight for our rights and freedoms down the ballot in 2020. #WeDecide2020 https://t.co/XF9QH2lfOD
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) October 9, 2019
The announcement comes after a turbulent few months for the organization. In July, the group removed its president, Leana Wen. At the time, Wen cited "philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood," and said the organization's leadership did not think she was "political" enough.
The separation has grown more contentious since Wen's ouster. In September, she wrote a scathing letter to Planned Parenthood's leadership, accusing the group of withholding her health insurance and severance payout to pressure her into signing a confidentiality agreement.
"No amount of money can ever buy my integrity and my commitment to the patients I serve," she wrote. The group denied the allegations.
In August, Planned Parenthood withdrew from Title X funding due to a directive from the Trump administration prohibiting recipients of Title X funds from providing direct abortion referrals as a "method of family planning." The rule still permits "nondirective" abortion counseling.
By withdrawing, the group decided to forgo $60 million in annual federal funding. However, it still receives $500 million in Medicaid funding.
Live Action, an anti-abortion nonprofit, criticized the continuation of federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
"The nation's largest abortion chain – which ends the lives of 921 preborn children per day, committing over 300,000 abortions per year – receives about half a billion dollars from tax payers every year thanks to pro-abortion politicians," Live Action president Lila Rose said in a statement.
"Americans shouldn't be forced to fund a pro-abortion political advocacy group which has chosen to spend tens of millions to secure its government revenue streams while destroying human lives," Rose added.
Planned Parenthood, which reports almost $1.9 billion in net assets, performed 332,757 abortions, according to its 2017-2018 annual report. It has also joined several lawsuits challenging pro-life laws passed by state legislatures.
In June, the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life advocacy group, announced $41 million in political spending to advance pro-life causes. The group also praised President Donald Trump as "the most pro-life president in history."
"Everything Planned Parenthood has done this year has underscored that abortion is their top priority. They will stop at nothing to undo President Trump's pro-life victories and stack Congress with extremists who'll keep taxpayer dollars flowing to their coffers," the group's president, Mallory Quigley, said in an email to the Washington Free Beacon. She added that the abortion provider will "face the overwhelming opposition of the American people to their agenda of abortion on demand" in upcoming elections.
The American Principles Project, a conservative think tank, called on conservatives to remain active in the fight for pro-life causes.
"Years of tireless effort have brought the pro-life movement to the cusp of overturning Roe v. Wade, but the abortion lobby isn't about to go down without a fight," Terry Schilling, the think tank's executive director, told the Free Beacon in an email. "This news should be a wake-up call for pro-life conservatives nationwide: We cannot afford to grow complacent or turn our focus away from these election battles."