From Portside <[email protected]>
Subject Abortion Rights Activists Target Battleground States Ahead of 2020 Elections
Date October 20, 2019 12:00 AM
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[Faced with the spread of draconian anti-abortion laws in the
South and Midwest, and the chance the Supreme Court may deliver a
watershed ruling on abortion in 2020, Planned Parenthood has launched
a massive campaign focusing on the 2020 elections.]
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ABORTION RIGHTS ACTIVISTS TARGET BATTLEGROUND STATES AHEAD OF 2020
ELECTIONS  
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Benjamin Barber
October 11, 2019
Facing South
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_ Faced with the spread of draconian anti-abortion laws in the South
and Midwest, and the chance the Supreme Court may deliver a watershed
ruling on abortion in 2020, Planned Parenthood has launched a massive
campaign focusing on the 2020 elections. _

Planned Parenthood has announced a $45 million campaign targeting 5
million voters in the 2020 elections, including the battleground
states of Florida and North Carolina. , Planned Parenthood Action

 

With the U.S. Supreme Court shifting further to the right under
President Trump, state-level Republicans in the South and Midwest have
raced to pass bills limiting women's access to abortion care.

This year alone, nine states — seven of them in the South
— passed restrictive abortion laws
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Though the new laws in Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and
Missouri did not ban abortion outright, the so-called "heartbeat
bills" prohibit abortions after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, when
doctors begin to detect a fetal heartbeat. In Arkansas, lawmakers
voted to limit the procedure to before the middle of the second
trimester, while Alabama legislators voted to prohibit abortion in
almost all cases.

These measures were quickly challenged by abortion rights advocates
and blocked by federal courts under the legal precedent of _Roe v.
Wade_ — but now that's under threat. The Supreme Court recently
announced that it will review a 2014 abortion law
[[link removed]] in
Louisiana, giving the court an opportunity to chip away at _Roe_.

Blocked by the federal courts since its passage in 2014, Louisiana's
Unsafe Abortion Protection Act requires a doctor to have admitting
privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where the
abortion is performed. Abortion rights supporters say that would mean
there would be just one abortion provider left in the state to provide
care to an estimated 1 million women of reproductive age.

The Louisiana case, titled _June Medical Services v. Gee_, will be
the first abortion case to come before the Supreme Court since
conservative Trump-appointed justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch
joined the bench. While the case does not directly challenge _Roe_,
abortion rights supporters fear it marks the beginning of a more
forceful effort to tear away at abortion rights. Meanwhile, abortion
rights opponents are optimistic.

"For the first time in decades, it's at least conceivable that there
are five votes to overturn _Roe v. Wade_," said
[[link removed]] Andrew
Bath, executive vice president of the Thomas More Society, a nonprofit
law firm dedicated to ending abortion rights. The group currently has
another abortion-related case pending before the Supreme Court.

The Louisiana law was upheld last year by a panel of the 5th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in New Orleans and considered
one of the country's most conservative courts. Earlier this year the
Supreme Court granted a temporary stay in the case, blocking the law
from taking effect. The law is similar to one in Texas
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the Supreme Court struck down in 2016, ruling that it "posed an undue
burden on a woman's constitutional right to access an abortion."

'Stakes are higher than ever'

The decision to revisit the case means that the Supreme Court may
deliver a watershed ruling on abortion rights during a presidential
race in which access to the procedure has already become a top issue
for many candidates. The soonest the court will hear the case is early
next year, with a decision expected in the summer of 2020.

In response to these latest attacks on abortion rights, Planned
Parenthood has announced a new campaign focusing on the 2020
elections. It aims to defeat President Trump while helping Democrats
win back the U.S. Senate and keep control of the House.

The initiative will expand on a nearly $30 million effort by the
organization during the 2018 midterm elections that helped Democrats
make significant gains and win the U.S. House.

In the run-up to November 2020, Planned Parenthood plans to spend at
least $45 million boosting candidates who support abortion rights in
federal as well as state and local races. Kelley Robinson, executive
director of the super PAC Planned Parenthood Votes, said
[[link removed]] advocates
are pushing back against a coordinated assault from abortion-rights
opponents.

"It's clear that all these attacks have one goal: to undermine and to
gut _Roe v. Wade_," Robinson said.

The group is targeting 5 million voters nationwide, with a focus on
nine key states. They include the Southern swing states of Florida and
North Carolina as well as Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New
Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The campaign will include
digital, television, and radio ads as well as direct mail and voter
canvassing beginning in 2020.

"This year what we're finding is that people really understand exactly
what's at stake," said
[[link removed]] Robinson.
"The stakes are higher than ever, and our donors and our supporters
understand that very clearly."

[_Benjamin Barber is a researcher and writer with Facing South. He can
be reached @benbarber96 [[link removed]]._]

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