Memo: Runoff Victories in Georgia Confirm that Support for Reproductive Rights is a Winning Strategy
For Immediate Release: Jan. 13, 2021
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Jenny Lawson, Planned Parenthood Votes Executive Director
DATE: Wednesday, January 13, 2021
RE: Runoff Victories in Georgia Confirm that Support for Reproductive Rights is a Winning Strategy
Georgians have once again decided: They want to be represented in Washington by leaders who will protect and advance their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Even as white supremacists terrorized the U.S. Capitol last week, their insurrection does not change the fact that the historic victories of Senators-elect Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, secured a Congress that will bring justice, accountability, and compassion to governance.
Together with the win of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris these victories ensure a reproductive rights majority in the U.S. Congress. They were achieved through record voter turnout and decades of relentless, on-the-ground organizing and voter registration efforts by Black, Latino, and AAPI leaders.
Opponents of reproductive rights were forced to invest an unprecedented sum in Georgia’s runoff elections, in hopes that their pattern of misinformation and attacks on abortion would help them to hold on to power in the Senate. But with the stakes higher than ever before, voters rejected Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who put our health care on the chopping block and tried to cripple abortion access. In sharp contrast, Senator-elect Rev. Warnock, a proud “pro-choice” pastor and former sexual health educator, and Senator-elect Jon Ossoff — a strong supporter of reproductive rights who is married to an OB-GYN — put our families’ health care first.
This election again proved that candidates who win elections support the expansion of reproductive rights and the protection of abortion access — even in traditionally “conservative” southern states.
There is no state in the country where making abortion illegal is popular, and 7 in 10 Georgians oppose overturning Roe v Wade. In 2019, Georgia passed its six-week abortion ban with just one vote to spare. This was part of a cascade of 25 state bans passed across the country, which energized voters to support elected leaders who would protect their health and rights, including Senators-elect Warnock and Ossoff. That momentum carried us into the 2020 election and runoffs, which has changed the face of power at both local and federal levels.
As part of the campaigns to elect Warnock and Ossoff, Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations executed a seven-figure program that included canvassing, phone banking, texting, digital advertising, and investments in grassroots partner organizations to help channel voters’ energy and activism into victories at the ballot box. The canvassing and digital programs prioritized Black voters, who came out in record numbers to secure a Warnock and Ossoff victory — over 80% of Planned Parenthood Votes’ efforts targeted Black voters in Georgia. Throughout both the general election and the runoff race, the Planned Parenthood Votes’ program:
- Knocked on more than 62,000 doors
- Distributed 617,000 pieces of mail to Georgia voters
- Made 72,000 phone calls; sent more than 1.3 million texts
- Reached over 1.2 million Georgians on digital platforms
The investments in Georgia were part of Planned Parenthood Votes’ largest-ever electoral program — helping to send Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House, and secure reproductive rights majorities in Congress.
Additionally, Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates invested $300,000 in local grassroots partner organizations for get-out-the-vote work and worked alongside Planned Parenthood Action Fund to raise the importance of sexual and reproductive health care issues during campaign events and in national press.
Now with historic reproductive rights majorities in the White House and Congress, Georgians will expect their new senators to transfer the enthusiasm from the campaign into legislative action. We must seize this historic moment by ending the Hyde and Helms Amendments, rebuilding and strengthening the Title X program, eliminating the global gag rule, and so much more. Congress must pass another COVID-19 relief package that prioritizes the needs of women and families, and protects community health care providers like Planned Parenthood, and addresses the health and economic crises in the U.S. and around the world. Additionally, the Action Fund will continue to support and prioritize short- and long-term structural democracy reform measures.
These critical victories in Georgia follow historic elections that put the people’s White House, House, and Senate in the control of leaders who will now have an incredible opportunity and responsibility to protect and advance sexual and reproductive health and rights. Now more than ever it’s clear: People want reproductive champions in office — and they expect them to deliver.
Planned Parenthood Votes is an independent expenditure political committee registered with the Federal Election Commission.
Paid for by Planned Parenthood Votes, 123 William St, NY NY 10028. Not authorized by any federal candidate or candidate's committee.