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Message to Anti-Women’s Health Candidates: Demean and Dismiss Women at Your Own Peril

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, announced its 2014 Women are Watching (WAW) campaign to educate voters about candidates’ positions on women’s health. The WAW campaign builds on the Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s successful strategy that helped propel President Obama to victory in 2012 with a historic gender gap and Terry McAuliffe to the governorship in Virginia last fall. 

Learn more about the campaign at womenarewatching.org.

Today’s announcement reaffirms the influential role that women and women’s health issues will play in 2014 midterm elections across the country, and underscores how much is at stake for millions of women.  According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than half of American women now live in a state hostile to their health care access. 

“As we see an unprecedented level of attacks on women’s health across the country, support for access to affordable birth control, Planned Parenthood’s preventive health care services, and access to safe and legal abortion have become a litmus test for many people when deciding who to vote for,” said Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations across the country plan to invest in six key races: the U.S. Senate races in North Carolina, Montana, and Alaska, and the governors’ races in Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania. The Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes are launching a series of digital ads in North Carolina, Texas, and Alaska today to begin educating voters about where candidates in these races stand on women’s health issues. You can view a series of those ads here.

“We know that women’s health is a winning issue and that no candidate will be able to win without a plurality of women. That’s why we’ve launched Women are Watching — to give women a place to share their energy and important information regarding what’s at stake in the upcoming election. Our message to candidates that demean and dismiss women is clear: do so at your own peril.

Women are watching and we’re ready for leaders that want to move our country and economy forward — not turn back the clock on women’s access to health care. As a leading women’s health advocate, the Action Fund and our networks across the country are uniquely positioned to talk to voters about these issues.  Women listen and trust us when we share information about where the candidates stand on issues important to their health care,” said Richards.

Over the last several years, Planned Parenthood political and advocacy organizations have successfully educated key voters about where their candidates stand on women’s health issues. Most recently in Virginia — where it had been decades since the party holding the White House won the Virginia governor’s race — Planned Parenthood political and advocacy organizations helped elect women’s health champion Terry McAuliffe and defeat extreme opponent of women’s health Ken Cuccinelli.

The majority of Americans believe that a woman and her doctor, not politicians, should be making health care decisions.

  • Women’s health played the defining role in Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial victory last year in Virginia. He won women by nine points — matching Obama’s 2012 advantage with Virginia women, beating Obama’s 2008 advantage with Virginia women by two points, and flipping Republican Governor Bob McDonnell's eight 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.
  • 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.  An overwhelming majority of women voters trust Planned Parenthood political and advocacy organizations when they speak out about issues affecting the health of women.
  • 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 12 winning candidates and opposing 12 losing candidates.

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