Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has just scored another major endorsement. Planned Parenthood, which has become a lightning rod for controversy this election cycle, announced Thursday it would endorse the former secretary of state, the New York Times reported.
This marks the first time in the healthcare nonprofit’s 100-year history that it is endorsing a candidate during a presidential primary season. The landmark decision comes as the Republican-led House of Representatives passed a bill this week that would dismantle the Affordable Care Act and cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) January 7, 2016
While President Barack Obama will veto the measure, all of the leading Republican presidential candidates would like to remove federal funding for the organization, which provides health care and reproductive services — including abortion — often to those who can’t afford to get the care elsewhere.
“Everything Planned Parenthood has believed in and fought for over the past 100 years is on the ballot,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, said about the endorsement, the New York Times reported.
Clinton will officially accept the group’s support Sunday at a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire. She said in a statement to the Times that she was “honored” by the endorsement, adding that the bill to defund Planned Parenthood is “a jarring reminder of what’s at stake in 2016.” The former secretary of state also promised to “defend against attacks on reproductive healthcare, and protect access to affordable contraception and safe and legal abortion across the country.”
Planned Parenthood has seen a significant wave of backlash and bad public relations since anti-abortion activists released a video of a Planned Parenthood official discussing the price of fetal organs. Abortion foes used the video to attack the group and have asserted that it profits from the sale of fetal tissue — a charge it has repeatedly denied.
I'll take on Republicans or anyone who tries to interfere with women's health. Proud to have @PPact's support in this important election. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 7, 2016
Clinton has long been an advocate of women’s issues and often expresses her support for abortion rights groups, including Planned Parenthood. She gave the keynote address at a Planned Parenthood gala during her time as secretary of state, and she is personal friends with many of the group’s leaders and activists, including Richards. Richards tweeted her personal support last April when Clinton announced her candidacy, and her daughter, former Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Lily Adams, serves as Clinton’s Iowa press secretary.
The nonprofit’s advocacy arm, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, gave $8,000 to Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign and $1,837 to her presidential committee in 2008, according to federal election records. Many big donors to Planned Parenthood’s PAC are also known Clinton supporters, Politico reported. Planned Parenthood also sponsors aspects of the Clinton Global Initiative, and other women’s organizations like Emily’s List share supporters with Clinton and Planned Parenthood, as well.
Clinton has already received other endorsements from groups that support abortion rights, including NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC. But this endorsement, which is technically made through the Planned Parenthood Action Fund since the main group is supposed to be nonpartisan, will bring at least $20 million to bear on presidential and Senate races in battleground states like New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the New York Times reported.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 3, 2015
The organization and Clinton both enthusiastically trumpeted the endorsement on Twitter Thursday afternoon. Clinton’s campaign speeches and her social media accounts have already been heavily supporting the group and its work. She often uses the hashtag #StandwithPP on her Instagram account and in Facebook and Twitter messages. After tweeting about the endorsement Thursday, Clinton’s account linked to a post titled “4 reasons a Republican president would be a nightmare for women’s health” — a message similar to many of her other advertisements for the group.
All of this support will likely help Clinton more as she heads toward the first nominating contests next month. A full 72 percent of voters, regardless of gender, said they believed abortion should be generally available or at least available with limits, according to a New York Times-CBS poll released earlier this fall. The same poll found that 50 percent of male voters and 60 percent of female voters said Planned Parenthood should receive money from the federal government.