Planned Parenthood Spends Record $50 Million in 2022 Midterms as Democrats Campaign on Abortion

Abortion strategies and campaign war chests loom large in the upcoming midterm elections.

People vote during Primary Election Day on Tuesday in New York. The U.S. special election is being viewed as the last bellwether of the public mood ahead of November's midterms, as Democrats seek to make abortion a key issue in the campaign.
People vote during Primary Election Day on Tuesday in New York. The U.S. special election is being viewed as the last bellwether of the public mood ahead of November's midterms, as Democrats seek to make abortion a key issue in the campaign. (photo: Yuki Iwamura / AFP via Getty Images)

Planned Parenthood is investing $50 million ahead of November’s midterm elections, aiming to reach 6 million voters in key states through canvassing, phone banking, mail, TV and digital advertising. 

The amount surpasses the $45 million the abortion group spent in the 2020 election cycle. The 14 states that the organization is concentrating their efforts in are “positioned to either ban or expand access” to abortion, and the group aims to “preserve and expand abortion access in as many states as possible.”

“Who wins in these midterm elections will determine whether a state has access to abortion and potentially determine whether we will face a national abortion ban,” Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, told the Associated Press. “We will be clear about who is on which side.”

In May, following the leak of the Dobbs decision, which overturned the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationally in 1973, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL and Emily’s List announced that they would collectively spend a historic $150 million on the midterm elections. For its recently announced $50 million investment, Planned Parenthood listed nine target states: Georgia, Nevada, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Michigan and Wisconsin. The abortion provider added that “local Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations in Colorado, California, Maine, Ohio, and Florida will also run robust electoral campaigns.”

In June, just before the Dobbs decision, the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony (SBA) Pro-Life America and its partner Women Speak Out PAC (WSO) announced their own plan to spend $78 million to reach “eight million voters across battleground states — four million directly at their doors — to educate them on key issues and win pro-life majorities in the U.S. House and Senate.” Their campaign to reach voters includes targeting Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. They have already visited more than 2.5 million homes in these states.

A spokesperson for SBA Pro-Life America told Fox News regarding Planned Parenthood’s investment that “the abortion lobby’s plan to spend millions to elect Democrats who back abortion on demand until birth shows just how desperate they are to preserve their lucrative business of killing unborn children and exploiting their mothers.” The pro-life spokesperson added, “This onslaught of spending underscores the importance of pro-life candidates going on offense to expose their opponents’ abortion extremism. Pro-life Republican candidates must be prepared to explain what they stand for and define their opponents’ position.”


Key Senate Races

Abortion-centered rhetoric and discussion of post-Roe stances have been a key part of the Ohio Senate race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman. 

When asked by NBC about a national abortion ban, Republican candidate J.D. Vance, Catholic convert and author of Hillbilly Elegy, said “my view on this is, let the states try to figure this out for now,” and praised Ohio’s heartbeat bill, which bans abortions after the detection of the fetal heartbeat at about six weeks of pregnancy. “I think that’s a good bill,” he said. “Florida has gone a slightly different direction. Virginia has gone a slightly different direction. When we’re figuring this new legal regime out, I think it makes sense right now to let the states decide this stuff. And right now, states are moving in a pro-life direction. I think that’s a good thing.” 

His Democratic opponent Rep. Tim Ryan, also a Catholic who was formerly a pro-life Democrat before changing his stance on the issue in 2015, told NBC that the Dobbs ruling “is the largest governmental overreach in the private lives of citizens in my lifetime. This is big government coming into your doctor’s office, your bedroom. It’s crazy. This is not freedom.” 

In its backing of Vance, SBA Pro-life America noted that Ryan told Fox News that “you’ve got to leave it up to the woman” when asked if he would back any limits on abortion. Iris Harvey, head of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, said in the group’s July endorsement of Ryan, “It’s more important than ever that we elect leaders who will be unequivocal in their support for reproductive freedom.”

In another key Senate race in Wisconsin where GOP incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson is facing a challenge from Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, discussion of a national abortion ban has been a part of the debate. Barnes recently commented that Johnson “is putting women and doctors at risk by supporting a federal abortion ban,” saying that Johnson had indicated he was open to one in a recent interview.

In that interview, Johnson said, “I look forward to every state, the people in every state, hopefully having a serious, compassionate and sympathetic discussion to decide this question, and this is what needs to be decided. At what point does society have the responsibility to protect life? That’s the question on the table. I don’t think nine justices should decide it. I don’t think 535 members of Congress should decide it. I think it should be decided by the people, state-by-state, maybe sometime in the future, you know, maybe Congress can take a look at what the states have done and say ‘we probably ought to place this limit here,’ based on new information.”


Defining the Debate

The Wall Street Journal editorial board noted this week that in a New York special House election in the Hudson Valley, Democratic winner Pat Ryan successfully ran on fears of a national abortion ban. “Republicans will have to make clear what specific abortion limits they favor and why,” they wrote. “If Republicans shrink from engaging on abortion, then Democrats will define the debate. Republicans can also go on offense by pointing out that many Democrats are extreme in supporting no limits at all on abortion.”