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TO: Interested Parties 

FROM: Catherine Welker, Planned Parenthood Action Fund

DATE: December 14, 2011

RE: Women Are Wondering:  Why Are GOP Candidates Attacking Women’s Health Less than Three Weeks Before the Iowa Caucus?


As several GOP presidential candidates attend Mike Huckabee’s so-called abortion forum later today, women are wondering: why are they attacking women’s health?

Undoubtedly, the candidates who are attending — Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry — will tout their out-of-the-mainstream record on women’s health, as well as attack Planned Parenthood.

And even though Mitt Romney won’t be in attendance, he might as well be there, since he is just as extreme on women’s health as his fellow GOP presidential candidates. Romney: I Would ‘Absolutely’ Support State Constitutional Amendment To Define Life As Beginning At Conception

Romney, like the other GOP presidential candidates, supports:

*barring Planned Parenthood health centers from providing preventive health care through federal programs

*overturning Roe v. Wade

*attacking family planning programs

During the Family Leader forum in November, Newt Gingrich reaffirmed his out-of-touch voting record, supporting a federal “life at conception” amendment and thinks Congress should use its authority to “define life and therefore undo all Roe v. Wade for the entire country in one legislative action.”  At the same forum, Rick Perry also came out in support of a similar federal constitutional amendment. 

However, voters don’t want politicians to play politics with women’s health.

That’s why Planned Parenthood Action Fund has launched Women are Watching, its campaign to educate, engage, and activate supporters across the country for the 2012 elections.

It includes an aggressive social media campaign, with @ppact using the hashtag #women2012 to engage supporters on key women’s health issues. 

The campaign’s website: www.womenarewatching.org showcases women’s health “Chumps,” drawing attention to Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and others for their dangerous positions on women’s health. 

The simple fact is that attacking women’s health is bad general election politics for the GOP presidential candidates because it is out of sync with the position of key voting groups needed to win the presidency — including women voters, young voters, and moderate voters.

Republican strategist Mark McKinnon:  Planned Parenthood litmus test “send[s] a terrible message to independent voters the GOP needs in order to win.” Politico reports, “The idea of Planned Parenthood’s funding as a Republican litmus test does not sit well with all of the party’s strategists, some of whom worry it will drive away the exact constituencies that the party needs to win in 2012. ‘It would send a terrible message to independent voters the GOP needs in order to win,’ said Republican strategist Mark McKinnon, a former adviser to John McCain, now at Public Strategies.” [Politico, 6/8/11]