In case there was any doubt just how seriously women’s rights advocates are taking the November election, Planned Parenthood Votes, an advocacy arm of the family planning provider, launched an enormous new campaign effort with its single largest ad buy, a $3.2 million television ad buy in Ohio and Virginia.
The group has already invested $1.4 million on ads in Iowa, Florida and Virginia.
The newest ad, called “Turn Back the Clock” is scheduled to run for the next five weeks on cable television in Northern Virginia. The ad highlights Mitt Romney’s opposition to Roe v. Wade and his plan to defund Planned Parenthood.
The ad hits Romney directly on the issue. “Today, millions of women rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for basic healthcare, including lifesaving cancer screenings,” the ad’s narrator says. “And millions more know we should be making our personal medical decisions, not Mitt Romney.”
It’s a smart buy, too. In 2011, Planned Parenthood clinics in Virginia provided 4,117 Pap smears, 635 of which were potentially dangerous and required further diagnosis or treatment, the group said. “It is these preventive services that would be cut under the Romney-Ryan administration?” Planned Parenthood Votes said in a statement.
Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg responded to Planned Parenthood’s ad buy in a statement to The Hill.
This is another misleading ad by the President’s allies in an attempt to cover up for four years of failure,” she said. “Dishonest political attacks will not change the fact that President Obama’s policies have not helped women start businesses, increase take-home pay or ensure that their children can afford to go to college and get a job. Mitt Romney has a plan to grow the economy and provide more opportunities for women across the country.
Put aside the obvious fact that the first piece of legislation the president signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Act which restored women’s rights to challenge discriminatory pay practices, the Romney response was about as lame as could be expected. It dodged the fundamental issues of the ads- Romney’s attacks on affordable family planning services and women’s bodily autonomy.
Perhaps more importantly, though, it shows what a high stakes game we’re playing here. Groups like Planned Parenthood Votes have no choice but to spend a ridiculous amount of money in political advertising. Republicans have made it clear that they do not intend on backing off these attacks until women are stripped of all the advances in the last 40 years. And, frankly, those opposing women’s rights appear to have a lot more money at their disposal to spend advancing their agenda. It’s this combination–pathological zeal against reproductive rights from the right combined with a seemingly limitless supply of money to finance that cause that is deadly to women and their families. Unfortunately, there’s no reason to think this will end anytime soon.