TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Erica Sackin, Political Communications Director, Planned Parenthood Action Fund
DATE: Tuesday, October 13, 2015
RE:  Democratic candidates stand with Americans when they stand up for women’s health

Tonight we’ll see a stark contrast to previous 2016 Presidential debates --- five candidates who stand strong in their support for something as basic as women’s access to health care. As Democrats take the stage in Las Vegas we can expect to hear reasoned, sensible opinions about women and men’s access to reproductive health care --- opinions that the vast majority of Americans share.

As Republicans have tripped over themselves in their race to the bottom on women’s health, they are advocating for extreme positions that would strip health care from millions of people who rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control, STI screenings, livesaving cancer screenings, safe abortion, and other essential reproductive health care services. They’ve stated they would remove women’s access to birth control with no copay; oppose abortion without exceptions --- including for rape, incest, or the life of a woman; would defund Planned Parenthood, threatening to leave millions without their reproductive health care provider; and have even gone as far as to lie, and make up a video in their attacks on women’s health. While this tactic may appeal to the extreme flank of the GOP, it has been systematically alienating voters across the country and falls increasingly out of touch with the general public.

Tonight's candidates have listened to what Americans have said loud and clear --- stand against the offensive views of the GOP candidates, and with the women, men, and young people who have relied on Planned Parenthood for birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, safe abortion, and other high-quality health care.  

Background: All Five Democratic Candidates Support Planned Parenthood

Lincoln Chafee

“I support @PPFA.  Planned Parenthood has a long record of helping women. #StandWithPP -L”

-- Lincoln Chafee (July 27, 2015)

Hillary Clinton

“I will continue to defend Planned Parenthood, because services that Planned Parenthood provides are broad, and necessary for millions of American women. Five hundred thousand breast screening exams. A lot of other screening programs that are carried out. Family planning and contraceptive testing for HIV AIDS.” —  Hillary Clinton (Sept. 23, 2015)

Martin O’Malley

“This effort to turn Planned Parenthood into a [political] football is wrong. Ninety-seven percent of what Planned Parenthood does is preventive health care for women. And so I think [the GOP] should leave Planned Parenthood alone.” - Martin O’Malley (Sept. 15, 2015)

Bernie Sanders

“Do I support Planned Parenthood? I absolutely do. And Planned Parenthood is now providing vitally important healthcare, cancer screening, other types of healthcare services to some of the poorest people in America. And I will defend Planned Parenthood. I think a lot of this attack, to be honest with you, comes from people who simply do not believe that a woman should have a right to control her own body. That’s the motive.”  - Bernie Sanders (Jul 31, 2015)

Jim Webb

"Without access to these services, many of these women will be unable to get preventive screenings, be at far greater risk for diseases such as cancer and will face more unintended pregnancies.” -- Letter to Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell (April 4, 2011)

Background: Support for Planned Parenthood Is a Winning Issue for Candidates.

All twelve national polls conducted in the wake of these attacks show strong support for Planned Parenthood and extraordinarily strong opposition to shutting down the government over Planned Parenthood federal funding.

  • A New York Times/CBS News Poll taken in the middle of the 2015 defund fight found that most Americans think Planned Parenthood should continue to receive government funding. The nationwide survey found that congressional Republicans have more to lose in this recent budget fight; more Americans would blame Republicans than other political actors if the government were to shut down over the funding of Planned Parenthood.

  • In a new Pew Research Center Poll, a supermajority of Americans surveyed say that any budget deal must maintain funding for Planned Parenthood. This Pew poll found that if lawmakers fail to agree on a budget and the government does shut down, more say the Republicans are to blame than any other participant.

  • AQuinnipiac University National poll found that  69% of American voters — including 56% of Republican voters — oppose shutting down the federal government over funding Planned Parenthood. The majority of voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood, and a strong 60% percent of women oppose defunding the organization.

  • A poll from NBC News/Wall Street Journal found 6 in 10 Americans say they're opposed to completely eliminating Planned Parenthood's federal funding — including more than 40 percent who are "strongly" opposed. The Sept 28 poll demonstrates that American attitudes about Planned Parenthood are virtually unchanged after extremists released a series of deceptively edited videos.

  • The latest poll from CNN/ORC found that 7 out of 10 Americans oppose shutting down the government in order to defund Planned Parenthood. Even the majority of those who labeled themselves as “Conservative” agree that it is more important to avoid a government shutdown than defund Planned Parenthood, and a strong 76% of respondents who make under 50K a year share the same view.

  • A poll from Hart research found that 64% of voters, including 72% of Independents, disagree with attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. Only 28% of voters support efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and voters overwhelmingly say they would support a candidate who favors funding Planned Parenthood over a candidate who supports defunding the organization.

  • A recent YouGov poll found that a solid majority of Americans have a favorable view of Planned Parenthood – virtually unchanged from a year ago. The poll found that more than a third of people who think abortion should be banned in all cases have a favorable view of Planned Parenthood.

  • Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that a majority of Americans support federal funding for Planned Parenthood’s preventive services, and strongly oppose attempts to block millions of patients across the country from accessing care at Planned Parenthood’s health centers. Fully 54% of people said they support federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and just 26% oppose. When asked about federal funding for reproductive health services generally, compared to funding for the same services at Planned Parenthood specifically, respondents were more supportive (by as much as 10%) of funding health care services at Planned Parenthood.

  • A  recent NBC-WSJ poll shows that Planned Parenthood has a significantly higher favorability rating than any other group or individual tested – including the U.S. Supreme Court, President Obama, both political parties, and key Republicans running for president.

  • And a recent Fox News poll showed that voters agree that Planned Parenthood should continue to receive federal funding, even after the video attacks this summer. In addition, the Fox News poll found that more voters than not view Planned Parenthood positively.

  • A nationwide USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll found that two-thirds of Americans continue to support funding for Planned Parenthood.

  • A new Rasmussen Report found that voter attitudes about Planned Parenthood have not changed in the nearly three months since the release of the first video from CMP — a majority of Americans still view Planned Parenthood favorably.

National polls show Americans believe women have the right to safe and legal abortion.

  • A Bloomberg Politics national poll found that 67% of Americans surveyed said the Supreme Court was right to rule that women have a constitutional right to abortion.

Polls in political swing states since these attacks began also show extremely strong support for Planned Parenthood.

Three surveys conducted by Hart Research show that despite weeks of attacks from anti-abortion extremists and their allies in Congress, voters in the battleground states of New Hampshire, Ohio, and Pennsylvania strongly support Planned Parenthood. The polls found strong opposition to defunding the preventive health services, including cancer screenings and birth control, that Planned Parenthood provides to millions of women in communities across the country — as well as overwhelming opposition to a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood. Key findings from the surveys include:

  • 66% of New Hampshire voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services, including 72% of Independents.

  • 65% of Ohio voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services, including 59% of Independents.

  • 69% of Pennsylvania voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services, including 69% of Independents.

  • Large majorities of voters in each state (65% in New Hampshire, 60% in Ohio, and 65% in Pennsylvania) do not believe that defunding is justified by the deceptively edited videos released in recent weeks by anti-abortion extremists.

  • Overwhelming majorities of voters in each state (75% in New Hampshire, 74% in Ohio, and 76% in Pennsylvania), including majorities of Republican voters, have an unfavorable reaction to the idea of shutting down the federal government to block any funding for Planned Parenthood.

  • By a 2 to 1 margin, voters in all three states are less likely to vote to re-elect their senators if they vote to defund Planned Parenthood.

An additional Poll in Maine from Hart Research found that 70% of Maine voters oppose the attempt by congressional Republicans to end all government funding for Planned Parenthood, with 55% strongly opposed.