After four years of attacks by the Trump-Pence administration on women, the LGBTQ community, people of color, immigrants, and our democracy, the 2020 elections felt like one of the most consequential and urgent election years in recent history.
Compounded with the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund and supporters quickly adapted to a remote campaign strategy to stay safe while supporting candidates to fight for our health, rights, and freedoms. Even in the face of unprecedented challenges, we elected the largest ever majority of champions for reproductive freedom to the Massachusetts State House.
1.) We elected a slate of ROE Act Champions to fight for equitable abortion access on Beacon Hil.
For the first time in organization history, we partnered with NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts to endorse and elect a slate of ROE Act Champions, each with a proven track record of meaningfully fighting for equitable abortion access and showing extraordinary commitment to passing the ROE Act.
This slate included a list of 86 endorsed candidates with a 98% win rate. Every single ROE Act Champion went on to vote in favor of provisions of the ROE Act just a few months later.
2.) We defended gains made in 2018 and elected bold newcomers for the largest ever majority of champions for sexual and reproductive rights in Massachusetts State House history.
We defended Representative Tram Nguyen, Representative Natalie Higgins, and Senator Becca Rausch—all ROE Act Champions—against challengers seeking to unseat them.
In Fitchburg, we helped John Cronin defeat longtime anti-abortion extremist and Planned Parenthood opponent Dean Tran. Now, the Worcester & Middlesex District will be represented by a state Senator who will defend their sexual and reproductive health.
Because of our efforts, PPAF will begin the new legislative session with 113 supporters in the MA House of Representatives, and 33 supporters in the MA Senate, our largest majorities ever.
3.) We pivoted with supporters to a digital organizing model mid-pandemic.
Pausing in-person campaigning and focusing on digital organizing didn’t mean scaling back—on the contrary, it allowed us to get more creative about our approach and invest in virtual phone banks, digital forums, and social media organizing.
Planned Parenthood supporters spent over 300 hours, completed over 200 action shifts, and participated in over 26 phone banks (including 8 joint Reproductive Freedom Phone Banks with partners at NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts) to support our priority candidates.
The Advocacy Fund hosted 3 virtual forums with a total of 8 candidates, highlighting their support for reproductive justice, police accountability, and the disparities that Black and brown communities are facing in the pandemic. Hosting online forums allowed us to create more intentionally inclusive spaces by highlighting diverse candidates, removing travel barriers for attendees, and including ASL interpretation or CART live captioning.