Planned Parenthood Forms Advocacy Arm in Texas to Sway Governor’s Race

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March 20, 2014;CBS Local DFW

The advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood has launched a new political action fund to influence this year’s election in Texas, according to the CBS News outlet in Dallas-Ft. Worth. It hopes to replicate its success shaping the Virginia governor’s race.

Cecile Richards, president of the national advocacy group Planned Parenthood Votes and daughter of the last Democratic governor of Texas, Ann Richards, told CBS that the Texas branch of the organization hopes to fight what it sees as an unprecedented attack on a woman’s right to choose.

Abortion rights will play a major role in the 2014 election for Texas governor. Republican candidate Greg Abbott opposes abortions in all instances except when the life of the mother is in danger, and he has the support of anti-abortion groups, which are influential in the Republican Party and can turn out large numbers of Texas voters.

Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee, gained national attention for her filibuster of a measure last summer that imposed some of the strictest abortion regulations in the country. She rallied thousands of demonstrators in Austin for some of the largest protests in recent memory.

Planned Parenthood, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, provides services like breast and cervical cancer screenings and birth control to about half of the 130,000 low-income Texas women enrolled in the Women’s Health Program. Its leaders formed Planned Parenthood Votes Texas (PPVT), a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group that aims to educate voters on an issue.

“We saw an outpouring of young activists and voters that have not been engaged in politics and women’s health issues in a long, long time,” Richards said. “What is exciting to me is to see the engagement of a new generation.”

Both campaigns have worked hard to win the support of female voters, who political analysts tell CBS are likely to decide the election. Unless you have been sleeping under a rock for the last 30 years, you know that the abortion debate figures large. PPVT will use phone banks, direct mail and other organizing techniques to turn Planned Parenthood supporters out to vote this year. The effort is a textbook example of a non-profit employing advocacy to advance its cause in service to its clients.

“It’s important to educate women about what’s been happening in our state and how their votes can actually make a difference,” PPVT’s executive director told CBS. “If we don’t get women into the voting booth now, it could get worse rather than get better.”

Republicans in the Legislature are trying to cut state funding for family planning clinics operated by Planned Parenthood. A third of the state’s abortion clinics have shut down because they cannot meet the requirement to have a doctor on duty who has admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Planned Parenthood has sued to overturn the law, and an appeal is pending in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Planned Parenthood’s political and advocacy arms played a big role in helping elect Democrat Terry McAuliffe as governor of Virginia. Richards told CBS that Planned Parenthood Votes spent $2.4 million to make women’s health a dominant issue in the Virginia election. Texas will be a tougher, since no Democratic candidate for president or governor has won more than 42 percent of the vote in the last 12 years. Although the state’s Latino population is growing quickly, its voter turnout is low, so conservatives make up the majority of voters.—Larry Kaplan

  • lindom

    Planned Parenthood is doing nothing but wasting a lot of the taxpayers’ money for nothing. There is no attack on women in TX as the Democrats and liars like Wendy Davis would want the rest of the country to believe. As a woman who lives in TX I would rather vote for my dog versus voting for Wendy Davis. She claimed to be a “single mother having to live in a trailer park” well after full investigation yes she was a single mother for a short time and lived in a mobile home for a short time between 1 divorce and second marriage, not like many of the women who have been single mothers for years but were able and willing to raise their children and majority of the time put those children through college. The only women who support Wendy Davis are those who are too dang lazy to work and take appropriate precautions not to get pregnant to begin with. Yes there are exceptions (rape and incest) including harm to mother’s heath and the ability to have an abortion in a properly licensed facility is available up to 26 weeks, so don’t understand the BS coming into TX other than to continue spreading lies to those who have no common sense or just playing follow the leader. If Planned Parenthood wanted to be a solution to any problems in this area they should be spending the time and money in educating the younger generation as to proper pregnancy precaution up front – if you don’t want a child then use something to prevent a child up front. Course those who are just having children to receive more money from the government aren’t going to change no matter what until the government stops giving money on a per child basis with no limit of number of children had by one mother and multiple fathers. Plus should be working to make the father pay for his children in these single mother cases up front. At this point Planned Parenthood is just another arm of the Democratic party to move more and more younger people to become totally dependent on the government. This is wrong and unethical from the perspective and point of view from a “Baby Boomer” who though did not have children if I had been able to I would not have needed the government to tell me what to do or need help from the government. I have been an Independent Woman from almost day 1 thanks to the upbringing, educating, and knowledge provided by my parents who were middle class workers and never depended on the government from day 1. Planned Parenthood should stay out of politics and do what they claim they formed for. As far as the majority of the TX women, we don’t need Wendy Davis or Planned Parenthood’s efforts to promote Wendy Davis or what they claim they have come to TX for. Leave our State alone. If you don’t believe what I have stated here then check out Facebook and every posting related to Wendy Davis.