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Elections & Politics

Planned Parenthood Action Fund: Elections show that attacks on women's health are rejected by voters

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 01.21.14

WASHINGTON, DC – As reports indicate that Republican Party leadership is encouraging candidates and the Party itself to double down in their opposition to access to safe and legal abortion, Planned Parenthood Action Fund Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens released the following statement:

“For four decades, two-thirds of the public has supported access to safe and legal abortion. That remains consistent. What’s changed is that more and more voters are basing their decision on candidates’ position on access to abortion, birth control, and preventive health care.

“President Obama's re-election in 2012 and Terry McAuliffe's election in the Virginia gubernatorial race in 2013 prove that the continued attacks on women’s health are a losing issue with voters across the country.”

Background on attacks on abortion access: There have been more attacks on reproductive freedoms in the last three years than in the entire previous decade. Using bogus claims of protecting “women’s health and safety,” politicians across the country have been chipping away at reproductive rights, state-by-state.

  • Since 2011, more than 200 restrictions on abortion access have become law— and 70 of these new restrictions have passed in 2013 alone. The result: more than half of women of reproductive age like us are living in states where access to abortion is being restricted by their state legislatures.  
  • In November, Albuquerque, NM voters defeated the first-ever municipal abortion ban, demonstrating that voters don’t want to take personal medical decisions out of the hands of women and their doctors.  If enacted, the referendum would have banned abortions at 20 weeks, even for victims of rape and incest, severe fetal abnormalities and when a woman’s health is in danger.  Electoral returns show that Albuquerque voters turned out in droves for a special municipal election — exceeding the turnout in a recent mayoral election by 17,000 votes — to reject the abortion ban by 10 points.  The victory comes after polling in early September showed support for the measure exceeding opposition by 15 points. 

Background on 2012 election:  Polling from the 2012 election shows that access to safe and legal abortion, affordable birth control, and basic health care access are motivating voting issues for women, who view them as core economic issues for their families.  

  • A 2012 post-election report from the Sunlight Foundation on big winners and losers found that the Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes had a 98 percent return on investment — having supported 11 winning candidates and opposing 11 losing candidates.

Background on Virginia gubernatorial election: Terry McAuliffe won women by 9 points — matching Obama’s 2012 advantage with Virginia women, beating his 2008 advantage with Virginia women by 2 points, and flipping Republican Governor Bob McDonnell's 8 point advantage with women that propelled him to victory in 2009.

  • Notably, 20 percent of Virginia voters said abortion was the most important issue in determining their vote, and McAuliffe won 59 percent of those votes.
  • Among the rising Virginia electorate, McAuliffe won overwhelmingly, winning among unmarried women by 42 points, and among African-American women by 84 points

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.