Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Campaign Cash

Planned Parenthood Spends Big On Elections

But little influence on legislation in face of Republican domination.

By - Jan 4th, 2022 01:07 pm
Cash. (CC0 Creative Commons).

Cash. (CC0 Creative Commons).

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is an education and health care services provider that has spent more than $3.2 million on electioneering activities since 2010 to back Democratic candidates for legislative and statewide offices through its electoral arm, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin.

The group boasts 24 health care centers are Wisconsin that provide cancer screening, HIV testing and education, midlife services, gynecological exams, birth control, abortion, and other services to more than 61,000 patients a year.

For decades, Planned Parenthood has also been a punching bag for conservatives and Republicans in Wisconsin and throughout the country because it performs abortions. Between 2010 and 2018 the GOP approved numerous state laws to cut funding and restrict abortions when the party controlled the governor’s office and the legislature.

Those laws included:

2017 Act 191, which restricts state health plans from covering abortions except for cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother,

2015 Act 151, which prevents the state from transferring federal dollars for family planning and health screening for poor and uninsured women to any group that provides abortion services,

2015 Act 152, which limits how much Planned Parenthood can be reimbursed for prescription drugs through Medicaid, cutting up to $4 million a year to the group,

2015 Act 56, which prohibits abortions, except in medical emergencies, after 20 or more weeks of pregnancy,

2011 Act 218 – Prohibits health plans offered through health insurance exchanges under the federal Affordable Care Act from covering abortions except for rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

The flow of anti-Planned Parenthood bills in Wisconsin continued even after Democrat Tony Evers became governor in 2019. See here. But Evers has vetoed measures to impose criminal penalties on doctors who failed to care for babies who survive attempted abortions, cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, prohibit abortions based on the race or sex of the fetus, and require doctors who perform abortions with the drug mifepristone tell women the process can be reversed after the first dose.

Since 2010, Planned Parenthood has used independent expenditure committees to spend more than $3.2 million on Wisconsin state elections.

More recently, in 2018 through spring 2021, Planned Parenthood has doled out nearly $1.2 million on spring, fall, and special elections, including:

About $220,150 to help elect Evers and his running mate, Lt. Gov Mandela Barnes, in 2018

About $182,110 to help elect Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul in 2018

About $123,700 to support Appeals Judge Lisa Neubauer, who lost to Appeals Judge Brian Hagedorn for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2019

About $67,350 to support Democratic challenger Neal Plotkin, who lost his bid to unseat incumbent GOP Sen. Alberta Darling, of River Hills in 2020

About $65,390 to support Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky, who defeated incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly for his seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2020.

The group’s electioneering activities involved door-to-door canvassing, mailings, robocalls, and online advertising.

In addition to outside electioneering, Planned Parenthood employees and PACs made $177,965 in individual and PAC contributions – all to Democrats – between January 2010 and June 2021.

The top recipients were:

Former Rep. Chris Taylor, of Madison, $15,050,

Evers, $12,601,

Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke, $10,107

Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee, $7,870

Barnes, $7,150.

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