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WASHINGTON, DC — On the heels of a successful weekend of action, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund announced today that supporters and volunteers have knocked one million doors in support of the Women are Watching campaign to engage and mobilize voters around women’s health this election.  That exceeds the organization’s door-knocks goal for the entire cycle, with more than two weeks to go before Election Day.

Planned Parenthood political groups are running their largest ever electoral effort this year to ensure voters across the country know the high stakes for women’s health and rights and the stark contrast between the candidates on issues including access to affordable birth control, safe and legal abortion, and pay equality. In addition to knocking one million doors, supporters and volunteers have made more than 535,180 phone calls. The groups are also running TV and digital ads in key Senate races including Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina and New Hampshire and in gubernatorial races in Pennsylvania, Maine, Florida and Texas.

You can learn more about the campaign at http://womenarewatching.org

“We’ve always known this year would be an uphill battle for incumbent women’s health champions, and with key races likely to be decided by a few thousand voters, Planned Parenthood Action Fund is running our biggest-ever turnout effort to ensure women vote,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.  “We are working around the clock to make sure women know the stark contrast between their candidates on safe and legal abortion, access to affordable birth control, and other issues that matter to their health and economic security.”       

In Colorado and North Carolina, Cory Gardner and Thom Tillis who have long records of opposing increased access to contraception have called for making birth control available over-the-counter, an unworkable proposal that could cost women up to $600 more a year on birth control. In Wisconsin and New Hampshire, Scott Walker and Scott Brown, who share a record of trying to restrict access to safe and legal abortion have aired ads that depict them as moderate on abortion. What’s clear is Americans aren’t fooled by these desperate attempts to muddy the waters.

“Planned Parenthood advocacy and political groups are holding these candidates accountable for their true record and positions and the impact they would have on women’s lives.  We’re talking with voters on the phones and at the doors to ensure women get out to vote this November in support of the candidates that will stand up and fight for them — not turn back the clock. These are health and economic issues for women and their families, not a political talking point to be dismissed,” continued Laguens.

In an opinion piece on Cosmo.com, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards talks about the upcoming election and how the attacks on abortion access in Texas should be a warning to women across the country, writing: “The situation in Texas is a cautionary tale that could apply to every single woman across the United States if we allow anti-women's-health politicians to take office.

“Several candidates support similar policies to those causing the women's health crisis in Texas. Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Cory Gardner in Colorado, Joni Ernst in Iowa, and Dan Sullivan in Alaska are all running for Senate seats — and they all have a record of working to severely restrict access to safe and legal abortion, or banning it outright. Even if you don't live in these states, these politicians, if elected, will have the power to make decisions affecting health care in all 50.”

Background: Over the past few years, women’s health issues and key groups of women voters have increasingly played a decisive role in elections. 

  • Women’s health played the defining role in Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial victory last year in Virginia. He won women by nine points (winning the race overall by only 2).  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.