Contributions to abortion conglomerate Planned Parenthood have surpassed $20 million in the most recent midterm fundraising cycle, according to an analysis of federal election data by watchdog group OpenSecrets.
Democrats have wagered heavily on progressive backlash against the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year as a tailwind for keeping vulnerable lawmakers in office. OpenSecrets reported that Planned Parenthood Votes, the organization’s super PAC, has raised approximately $2 million between the beginning of September and the third week of October.
Recent polling, however, indicates that abortion may be fading into the background as voters across party lines grow frustrated with the state of the economy. One survey from The Wall Street Journal showed that Republicans have regained momentum over Democrats when asked which party they would rather support in their congressional district.
According to OpenSecrets, among the largest backers of Planned Parenthood Votes are Jude Laspa, a former director of the Bechtel Group, an engineering company, who donated over $250,000 to the organization. Regan Pritzker, a relative of Governor J.B. Pritzker (D-IL), donated $200,000, while Seattle philanthropist Shari Behnke contributed $100,000.
With regard to expenditures, Planned Parenthood Votes set a quarterly lobbying record after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, spending $569,000 in a mere three months. The organization has spent nearly $873,000 on federal lobbying efforts this year.
Americans generally believe that abortion should either be legal in most cases or illegal in most cases. Only 8% of the population concur that abortion should be illegal without exceptions, according to data from Pew Research Center.
Planned Parenthood Votes appears to be draining its coffers in the current midterm election season. The group has spent $7 million on federal elections, representing more than three times its fundraising in the same cycle. Three months ago, the group committed to spending $50 million on advocacy and political efforts during the midterms as many conservative-leaning states consider tightening regulations on abortion.
“This is an election about power and control,” Planned Parenthood Votes Executive Director Jenny Lawson remarked. “Should these out-of-touch politicians gain or stay in power, they will continue doing everything they can to ban all abortion, throw health care providers and pregnant people in jail, and endanger the health and lives of pregnant people across the country.”
Among other swing states, Planned Parenthood Votes has funneled money toward efforts in Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada, all of which have Senate races presently ranked as tossups by Cook Political Report. All three states have incumbent Democrats, while the race in Pennsylvania has shifted in favor of Republicans over the past several weeks.
“Big stakes require big investment, which is why this fall Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations will run our largest-ever electoral campaign to preserve and expand abortion access in as many states as possible,” Lawson added. “From now until Election Day, we’ll make sure voters know who’s on their side and channel their dissent into political power at the ballot box.”
Planned Parenthood conducted 354,871 “abortion procedures” between October 2018 and September 2019, according to the group’s most recent annual report, amounting to 972 abortions per day and 41 abortions per hour across the United States.