President Donald Trump listens to a question during a joint news conference with Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto in East Room of the White House in Washington, October 2, 2019.
Leah Millis | Reuters
Anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List launched a $52 million effort on Friday to support President Donald Trump’s reelection bid, a day after Planned Parenthood pledged $45 million to support candidates in favor of abortion rights.
The amounts represent the largest election spending in both groups’ history.
SBA List, via its super PAC Women Speak Out, will use the money to canvass key battleground states: Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.
“The stakes of this election could not be higher,” SBA List spokesperson Mallory Quigley said in a statement. “Democratic contenders for president are lining up to support abortion on demand, and even infanticide, and declaring war on even the most modest pro-life policies. Meanwhile, President Trump has governed as the most pro-life president in our nation’s history.”
Multiple states in 2019 tightened the restrictions on abortion. Other states, like New York, Virginia and Maine, expanded abortion access. In January 2019, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed the Reproductive Health Act, a law that allows people to receive an abortion after the 24th week of pregnancy in cases where the health of the person giving birth is on the line or if the baby would not survive the birth. Previously, the New York law only allowed an abortion after 24 weeks if the person giving birth would not survive.
Trump once identified as “very pro-choice,” saying in a 1999 Meet the Press interview, “I hate the concept of abortion. I hate everything it stands for. I cringe when I listen to people debating the subject. But I still believe in choice.”
But during his 2016 campaign, the president targeted anti-abortion rights voters, appearing at rallies and major fundraisers and vowing to defund global family planning efforts at the United Nations.
“From now until Election Day, our team will go door-to-door visiting traditional Democrat voter groups who may simply be unaware of the Democrats’ support for extreme pro-abortion policies,” Quigley said. “Our focused, battle-tested voter outreach method will ensure we reach the voters who can provide President Trump and pro-life Senate candidates the winning margin on Election Day.”
Planned Parenthood’s super PAC on Thursday unveiled a $45 million plan to support candidates in favor of abortion rights at the presidential, congressional, and state levels.
Both efforts come after a volatile year for abortion-rights groups.
Republican-led states last year, emboldened by the Supreme Court’s new conservative majority and President Donald Trump’s anti-abortion policies, passed 59 abortion restrictions. Also in 2019, a wave of state-led abortion bans defined the year in reproductive rights news. Each was temporarily blocked in court, but some states will appeal to higher courts.
Experts project 2020 could be just as volatile.
The Supreme Court in March will take up its first major abortion-related case with both of Trump’s appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, on the bench.
The high court will review a 2014 Louisiana law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where the abortions are provided. Opponents said it would effectively leave one abortion provider for a state with about 4.6 million residents.
On Jan. 2, 207 lawmakers, including two Democrats, filed an amicus brief in the case, urging the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that legalized abortion.