We’re toasting to these hard-won victories.
It’s been an exhausting year. Almost every day of 2018 felt like it delivered new attacks by the Trump-Pence administration. Racist and discriminatory immigration policies. An expanded global gag rule. A new Supreme Court justice who could end Roe v. Wade.
But we haven’t been beaten down — we’ve been rising up. All year long, Planned Parenthood supporters joined us in resisting like hell. And we’re stronger than ever because of it: This year, Planned Parenthood reached a record 12 million supporters.
We spent the year putting our size and power to use. In 2018, Planned Parenthood supporters held 30,000 events across the country. That includes phone banks, local meetings, rallies, and voter registration drives. Altogether, an astounding 77,000 people attended these events. Another 54,000 people called their legislators to demand action to protect our health and rights. The results? Huge wins for our rights.
While we prepare for 2019, let’s take a victory lap to celebrate our major triumphs in 2018. In honor of our 12 million supporters, join us in cheering for 12 wins from the past year.
1. A Pro-Reproductive Rights Majority Won the House
This. Was. HUGE. This midterm election, we helped usher in an unparalleled, pro-reproductive health majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Make no mistake: This victory was a check on the Trump-Pence administration and its allies in Congress. Planned Parenthood Votes and Planned Parenthood Action Fund advocacy and political organizations ran their largest midterm electoral program ever. Across the country, they registered and mobilized millions of voters and knocked on more doors than any previous midterm effort.
We protested in the streets, at the White House, in the U.S. Capitol — and our work paid off. Pro-reproductive health representatives flipped a whopping 43 seats in the House. Five Planned Parenthood alumni won their local elections. A whopping 85 percent of Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s endorsed candidates won their elections — that’s over 200 pro-reproductive health leaders taking office. Supporters working and volunteering with the Win Justice (a campaign that includes Planned Parenthood Votes) made efforts to reach 2.1 million unlikely voters, especially voters of color, women, and young people. They knocked on 3.4 million doors; made 700,000 phone calls; and sent 1.9 million texts to get voters to the polls.
This win truly can’t be understated. When newly elected members of the 116th Congress are sworn into office on January 3, 2019, Congress will be joined by 43 new women, 22 new people of color, and 5 new openly LGBTQ people.
The House of Representatives will have a record-breaking 103 women total, including the first Muslim-American women, the first Native-American women, and the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Unprecedented in its diversity, this pro-reproductive health majority in the House will help protect our rights and freedoms in 2019.
2. We Delayed Trump’s Dangerous “Gag Rule”
Each day the gag rule’s delayed, more people get the health care they need.
This spring, Trump waged his most dangerous attack on women’s health yet. His devastating “gag rule” would dismantle Title X, the one program meant to ensure that people with low incomes can access birth control, STD testing, cancer screenings, and other essential reproductive health care.
We immediately took action and succeeded in staving off the attack. How? By flooding the administration with comments. When the government proposes a regulation, the public gets 60 days to comment — and the administration is required by law to review every single unique comment. So we held rallies, marches, protests, phonebanks, and more. We let everyone know just how unpopular the gag rule is. Ultimately, we helped collect so many public comments — an astounding 500,000 — that we bogged down the process and delayed the gag rule from taking effect.
We’re still expecting the final gag rule any day now, but each day without it means that millions of people across the country can access the reproductive health care they need.
3. We Helped Strike Down a Dangerous 6-Week Abortion Ban in Ohio
Right after Christmas, the Ohio legislature blocked an unconstitutional six-week abortion ban, which would have been one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio were relentless in protestesting the ban, and their voices were heard.
If it hadn’t been blocked, this legislation would have banned abortion before many women know they are pregnant. And that would have decimated a woman’s right to control her life at the most basic level —whether and when to become a parent.
4. Anti-Women’s Health State Legislators Failed to Block Patients from Care at Planned Parenthood
This year, Congress tried and failed to "defund" Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, state efforts to block patients from care at Planned Parenthood health centers were delayed.
With encouragement from the Trump-Pence administration, anti-women’s health politicians in Texas, South Carolina, and Tennessee earlier this year asked the federal government to block Medicaid patients from preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Reproductive health advocates mobilized to protect access to care, submitting 13,000 comments in opposition to the states' requests. In light on this political pressure on the administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) hasn’t moved forward in approving the states' unpopular requests.
The U.S. Supreme Court also delivered a victory for Planned Parenthood patients across the country. The Court refused to hear a case that could have opened the door for states to try to “defund” Planned Parenthood. Thanks to the decision, Medicaid patients can continue to rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and more.
5. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) Stood Strong
After the second failed attempt by Congress to repeal the ACA during Trump’s term, the president tweeted his intention to "let Obamacare implode." Since then, the administration has tried and failed to attack the ACA so many times in so many different ways that it’s difficult to keep count.
Thanks to the incredible grassroots mobilization of millions of women, men, and young people, the administration’s efforts to legislatively undo the ACA and its protections for health care were largely unsuccessful. The health care law remains firmly in place.
People across the country can still enroll in marketplace plans that cover essential health benefits, like birth control — and get financial assistance to do so.
6. The Nation Rose Up for Sexual Assault Survivors — Even If the Senate Didn't
Once again, the #MeToo movement brought the power of survivor’s voices to the forefront, with unprecedented demands for perpetrators to be held accountable. This summer, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford courageously shared her allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Her bravery prompted a global movement to #BelieveWomen.
Supporters joined us at rallies at the Supreme Court and state capitols across the country. They called, tweeted, and made videos to show Dr. Ford she wasn’t alone. Though Kavanaugh was confirmed to the bench, the swell of support showed a changing tide in how the public understands sexual assault.
Help Us Continue to Protect Sexual and Reproductive Rights in 2019!
We have the chance to keep the Trump-Pence administration accountable — but only with supporters like you behind us.
Every day Planned Parenthood health center doors stay open is another victory for the 8,000 patients who walk through them each day. And to them — and to all of us here at Planned Parenthood — your support makes a world of difference.
But our work doesn't end here. We're bracing for a slew of attacks from the Trump-Pence administration on our bodies, rights, and access to care — and we're going to give it everything we have to make sure we don't lose any ground.
7. We Delayed Trump’s Attempt to Let Medical Workers Use Religion to Discriminate Against Patients
The administration tried — and failed — to finalize a rule that would empower medical workers to use their personal objections as grounds to deny patients access to health care services. This rule could especially threaten women and LGBTQ people’s access to health services like abortion, hormone therapy, birth control, and sterilization.
We sprung into action as soon as the administration proposed the rule. Partners and supporters submitted more than 200,000 comments (including 23,000 comments from Planned Parenthood supporters) expressing their strong opposition and pressuring the administration not to finalize the refusal rule. Nearly a year later, we have yet to see a final rule.
8. Trump Was Blocked from Rolling Back Access to Birth Control — Though We’re Still Fighting
Trump won’t give up on trying to let our bosses decide whether or not we get access to birth control. In 2018, he continued his goal of gutting the part of the ACA that requires employers to cover birth control, putting at stake the benefit gained by 62 million women. But just as the year was drawing to a close, a federal court blocked Trump’s attack.
The fight is far from over: The administration's final birth control rules are set to be effective on January 14, 2019, though ongoing litigation could prevent them from taking effect. We need to show the administration and our elected leaders just how MANY of us oppose taking away our access to birth control. You can help by adding your name to our message to lawmakers.
9. We Said Goodbye to Some Harmful Anti-Abortion Trump Appointees
The Trump-Pence administration is like a who’s who of longtime anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant crusaders. But by the end of this year, a number of harmful appointees saw the door.
Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Scott Lloyd was demoted after mass public outcry — including Planned Parenthood’s repeated calls for his firing. For over a year, Lloyd put the health of young immigrant women at risk in efforts to further his personal anti-abortion agenda.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who used his position to attacks the civil rights of transgender people, immigrants, and people of color — resigned just before Election Day. Anti-birth control advocate Nikki Haley resigned as UN ambassador, leaving a trail of attacks to women’s reproductive rights across the globe. And anti-abortion foes Teresa Manning and Charmaine Yoest — both of whom came to the administration from the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ hate group — left the Department of Health and Human Services after short stints.
10. States Protected and Expanded Medicaid
After the midterm election, 36 states and the District of Columbia adopted the ACA’s Medicaid expansion — including successful Medicaid expansion ballot initiatives in Idaho, Nebraska, Utah, and a Medicaid expansion bill in Virginia. That means a lot more women will get health care: Medicaid is the largest payer of reproductive health care coverage, paying for 75 percent of all public funds spent on family planning services.
Meanwhile, a federal judge blocked an unfair work requirement that would have blocked Medicaid access based on employment — a discriminatory practice that would have a grossly disproportionate impact on women of color given systemic racism and historic barriers to care.
11. We Welcomed a New Planned Parenthood President
After 12 incredible years, Cecile Richards stepped down as president of Planned Parenthood, and welcomed Dr. Leana Wen — the first physician in nearly 50 years to head the organization. Dr. Wen is leading the fight to protect reproductive freedom.
“As a doctor, I will ensure we continue to provide high-quality health care, including the full range of reproductive care, and will fight with everything I have to protect the access of millions of patients who rely on Planned Parenthood,” Dr. Wen said.
12. We Held Our Biggest, Raddest Grassroots Training Ever
This July, more than 2,000 activists representing 48 states convened in Detroit for Power of Pink, the biggest, baddest, raddest grassroots training that Planned Parenthood has ever hosted. In two days of intense workshops and panels, reproductive rights activists learned how to center race equity in their local organizing, run data-driven campaigns, and help elect reproductive health champions in 2018 (and we did!).
Help Us Keep Up the Momentum in 2019!
Even when the attacks don't make the headlines, Planned Parenthood Action Fund is there, fighting back to ensure EVERYBODY has access to care.
With more attacks on the horizon and years of damage to undo, we can't back down now. Help us keep standing strong.