Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) officially endorsed President Barack Obama and announced a purchase of $1.4 million in television ads Wednesday that portray former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) as “out of touch” with American women. This initial ad buy far outpaces PPAF’s 2008 spending.
“The Republican primary process laid bare Mitt Romney’s clear agenda for dismantling women’s health in this country,” Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund told Raw Story. “We know very clearly from our research that when women learn about Mitt Romney’s positions on women’s health, they are appalled. The ad launching today is only a small down payment on the way we intend to educate voters about Mitt Romney’s harmful and out of touch positions and mobilize them come November.”
The support for Obama comes despite decisions the administration made that angered pro-choice advocates. During the debate over health care reform, the administration backed the Stupak–Pitts Amendment, which codified a ban on federal spending for abortion. Pro-choicers protested the Department of Health and Human Services’ refusal to make emergency contraception available over-the-counter to women under 17.
PPAF hasn’t disclosed if they plan to target anti-choice Democrats in addition to attacking the presumptive Republican nominee.
The 30-second PPAF ad released on Wednesday told viewers, “When Mitt Romney says, ‘Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.’ Romney is saying he’ll deny women the birth control and cancer screenings they depend on.”
The ad also points to a campaign call in which a Romney aide said they’d have to “get back” to a reporter on whether Romney supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The campaign later clarified the candidate’s position, and told Talking Points Memo, “He supports pay equity and is not looking to change current law.”
PPAF purchased television ads in to target women swing voters, defined as women ages 18 to 29 who don’t identify as strongly partisan or ideological. They’ve targeted such women in West Palm Beach, Florida, Des Moines, Iowa and Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C., which is one of the country’s most expensive ad markets. The campaign also includes online ads.
An ABC News poll released Wednesday (PDF) revealed that Romney’s favorability ratings among women are 40 percent favorable, up 9 points among moderate women voters. Obama’s favorability, meanwhile, is at 51 percent. Though another ABC News survey earlier this month found that Romney was more favored among married women, the Wednesday poll finds Romney is gaining among unmarried women.
Recent controversies over Planned Parenthood has actually served as a boon to fundraising efforts. From the Susan G. Koman Foundation’s decision to end its funding of Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screenings to Rep. Mike Pence’s (R-IN) efforts to pull federal funding from the organization, such controversies have aided the organization in gaining more than a million new supporters.
A recent profile in the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that “Planned Parenthood has increased from four to seven the number of staff members in Washington devoted to digital advocacy, fund-raising, and engagement, and it plans to add three more.”
Watch the ad, which PPVotes posted to YouTube May 30:
[Screen shot of Mitt Romney speaking to Time magazine]
[Correction: This story originally referred to Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The campaign is run by Planned Parenthood Action Fund.]
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
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