TO: Interested Parties FR: Jessica O’Connell, Executive Director, EMILY’s List, and Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund DA: Tuesday, September 8, 2015 RE: Welcome Back, GOP Congress Since the 114th Congress began, the Republican leadership has done nothing but try to turn back the clock for hardworking women and families. As the summer break comes to an end, we have every reason to believe returning Republicans who control Congress will bring the same genuinely outrageous priorities back to the table in Washington—and that we’ll only see their agenda grow more extreme. Some politicians have wholeheartedly embraced a set of highly—and deceptively—edited videos produced by an extremist group with close ties to the most violent elements of the anti-abortion movement. They might be raising money off the videos in the short term, but the truth is that this is a bad long-term strategy for the GOP. The group behind these videos—and the politicians who are using them to advance their extreme agenda—simply don’t have credibility with the American people, 63 percent of whom oppose defunding Planned Parenthood. And while Mitch McConnell has put his foot down, saying the government will not shut down over a fight to defund Planned Parenthood, the Republican Party’s de facto leader has a different agenda… Donald Trump said shutting the government down to force defunding is not only worth it, but it’s what he would do. True to form (and desperate to out-extreme each other), Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush also quickly signed on to pledge to support defunding Planned Parenthood. And 18 House Republicans have signed a letter to the same effect—which not a single woman member of Congress signed. If all of this is starting to sound familiar, it’s because we’ve seen it all before. Leaders of the Republican party tried this same strategy in 2011—and created a gender gap of 20 points in 2012 with women across the country voting in historic margins for Democratic candidates who supported women’s access to health care. The reality is that Congress’s numbers are continuing to plummet while Planned Parenthood’s numbers remain strong. That’s because millions of women and men across the country rely on Planned Parenthood for critical, compassionate, and life-saving care. In fact, 1 in every 5 women say they have visited Planned Parenthood for health care. And more than 90 percent of the care
Planned Parenthood provides is preventive—services like cancer screenings and yearly exams that everyone needs to stay healthy. Planned Parenthood also provides abortion services and always will – because women need access to safe, legal abortion when they make the decision to end a pregnancy. Defunding Planned Parenthood has been—and always will be—a losing strategy for politicians. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on the agenda Republicans in Congress are pushing—and so will women across the country – including Democratic, Republican, and Independent women who oppose the extreme, out-of-touch, anti-woman agenda that we’re seeing.. The bottom line? If leaders in the Republican party think they can keep pursuing their dangerous agenda and there won’t be a price to pay with women voters, then they have another thing coming. Women voters are watching—and so are we.