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Planned Parenthood to dedicate $45 million to 2020 elections

As the battle for reproductive rights rages on, Planned Parenthood plans to spend $45 million on the 2020 elections. CBS News reports Planned Parenthood will dedicate funds to help campaigns at the state, congressional and presidential levels. The initiative, “We Decide 2020,” will target voters in nine battleground states: Michigan, New Hampshire, Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Florida. It will be run by Planned Parenthood Votes, a PAC separate from the day-to-day operations of the greater organization.

"The stakes have never been higher," Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, told CBS News. "[The Trump administration] has managed to undo so much over the last three years,” Lawson continued. “The fact that this summer the Supreme Court might gut Roe v. Wade is an indicator of their intention and they've never been so bold."

Anti-abortionists have been working hard to overturn Roe, especially since the Supreme Court’s ideological flip under the Trump administration. According to the ACLU, there were 59 abortion restrictions passed in 2019 — and a total of 483 enacted since 2011. Seven states that have attempted to pass abortion bans have been blocked by federal judges. While it matters who's president, of course, reproductive rights are also highly contingent upon state and local officials, which means downballot elections are just as important to Planned Parenthood as the name at the top of the ticket.

Earlier this month, 207 members of Congress endorsed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to consider getting rid of Roe. “The Fifth Circuit’s struggle to ... determine what ‘burden’ on abortion access is ‘undue’ illustrates the unworkability of the ‘right to abortion’ found in Roe v. Wade and the need for the Court to again take up the issue of whether Roe and [the 1992 Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey] should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled,” the document states.

The brief was filed on behalf of the defendant in June Medical Services v. Gee, a pending case regarding the requirement that Louisiana doctors must have admitting privileges in order to perform abortions. The law was deemed constitutional by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the Supreme Court filed a stay to prevent it from going into effect. The justices will hear arguments for the case this spring.

Planned Parenthood hasn’t announced any endorsements yet, but Lawson told CBS News that the organization is fine with "every major Democratic candidate."

"The Democratic candidates collectively have the boldest reproductive rights policies we've ever seen," Lawson added. "Every major candidate in the 2020 elections, except for Donald Trump, has spoken out against dangerous abortion bans and many of them have actually introduced real plans to protect the reproductive rights in this country."