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GETTING CHIPPY

Planned Parenthood Launches New Campaign to Derail the Kavanaugh Nomination

Hearings on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee near and the groups opposing confirmation are trying to catch up with those supporting it.

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Mandel Ngan/Getty

What has been a relatively quiet fight from progressive advocacy organizations in opposition to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, is set to heat up in the coming days and weeks.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, along with the National Women’s Law Center, Center for American Progress Action Fund and other groups will unveil a new ad campaign on Wednesday, with the express purpose of shifting the debate away from the politics of the Kavanaugh nomination and on to personal stories about people who could be affected by his position on the Supreme Court.

Titled “#DearSenators,” the campaign will include a new website that will feature patient stories, letters that constituents have sent to senators and other interactive tools. In addition, Planned Parenthood is beginning a six-figure ad buy that features testimonials from women about access to health care and the importance of Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that legalized abortion and is seen as being threatened should Kavanaugh be confirmed to the Supreme Court. The television ads will be primarily targeted to Alaska and Maine, while the digital ones will be across the country.

“While politicians like Sen. McConnell and President Trump may see this as a political game, for millions of Americans, the fight over Kavanaugh is personal,” Carmen Berkley, managing director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund said in a statement. “The constitutional right to have an abortion is at stake. Our ability to get health care and to live free of discrimination is at stake.”

One of the ads, entitled “Voice of a Lot of Women,” includes a story from a woman who had an illegal abortion prior to Roe v. Wade.

Planned Parenthood’s new investment represents an escalation among liberal groups trying to undermine the Kavanaugh nomination. But it is also a bit of catch up too. A more robust pro-Kavanaugh effort has already been launched by conservatives and White House allies. And earlier this week, the National Rifle Association announced that it intends to spend at least $1 million urging Democratic senators in four states, as well as Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), to support Kavanaugh’s nomination.

The four Democrats being targeted—Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)—are all from states that President Trump won handily in 2016. All are up for reelection this year as well, save for Jones, and the three facing tough election fights voted for Trump’s previous Supreme Court nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch.

The flood of outside spending coming this week is in addition to a previously-announced $5 million expenditure from Demand Justice, a progressive outfit opposing the Kavanaugh nomination, and a pledge from the Judicial Crisis Network to spend as much as $10 million supporting Kavanaugh’s bid.

Asked about the difficulty of being outpaced financially by conservative groups, Erica Sackin, director of political communications for Planned Parenthood said that personal stories are going to prove to be “the most powerful message that you can hear.”

“We believe that senators have to listen to those stories because we’ve seen the power of this personal storytelling again and again.”