Planned Parenthood and the campaign to get Susan Collins to do the right thing

Planned Parenthood isn’t fucking around… This afternoon, the respected, 102 year old reproductive health care organization launched an aggressive, six-figure ad campaign in Maine directed at Senator Susan Collins, one of two pro-choice Republicans who presently stand between anti-abortion Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court. The first ad in the campaign, which features a focus group of independent female voters in the Senator’s state, doesn’t really overtly threaten Collins, like the grassroots “Be a Hero, Or We Will Replace You” initiative that we discussed yesterday, but makes it clear that the women of Maine are expecting her to do the right thing… Here, for those of you not watching TV in Maine at the moment, is the ad, which I found to be incredibly effective.

We have no way of knowing, of course, what really matters to Collins, who came out yesterday condemning the crowdfunding campaign noted above, which has already raised over $1 million for her competitor if she toes the Republican line and votes for Kavanaugh, as a “bribe”, but I have to think that an approach like this one that we’re seeing from Planned Parenthood may be less easy for her to just brush off as a partisan attack. [“I respect her so much,” says one woman in the ad. A woman across the table responds, “She’s got an opportunity to be a leader.”]

As someone who works in communications, I’m liking to watch the various ways that people, in hopes of keeping Kavanaugh from the bench, are utilizing their resources and playing their hands. And I think this campaign of Planned Parenthood’s is a great counterpoint to the grassroots “We Will Replace You” campaign. I like their appeal to Collins as a heroic maverick who has shown courage in the past, standing up to her party on behalf of the women that she represents. It’s not the way I would go about it, but I think it may work well in concert with the other, more aggressive attacks that we’re seeing. [Speaking of which, keep sending those coat hangers to her offices, people!]

This is going to be a career-defining vote for Collins. She’s said in the past that she “would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade,” and, yet, from everything we’ve seen, it looks like she’s prepared to do exactly that. And I very much appreciate Planned Parenthood stepping in to spend the money and lead the fight, reminding the women of Maine what this Supreme Court pick means for women’t reproductive rights, and making it clear to Collins that her legacy hangs in the balance… and, of course, subtly reminding her that we won’t accept “But he gave me his word that Roe v. Wade was ‘settled law’” as an excuse.

The following comes by way of the Huffington Post.

…Planned Parenthood launched a six-figure cable and digital ad campaign in Maine on Wednesday that features a focus group of independent female voters who strongly want Collins to oppose Kavanaugh. NARAL Pro-Choice America put an additional $500,000 into its $260,000 ad campaign in Maine this week, which will run on TV and online in Maine until the vote.

Planned Parenthood and NARAL have also spent over $1 million in Alaska, with the latter taking out ads in the Anchorage Daily News as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google. Polls commissioned by Planned Parenthood in both states show that a strong majority of voters would like to see Roe v. Wade upheld. Kavanaugh has indicated hostility toward the landmark 1973 abortion rights decision.

Collins and Murkowski both claim to support abortion rights, and have bucked their party before to protect federal funding grants to Planned Parenthood. Both senators claim to be undecided on Kavanaugh. Collins has said she’s impervious to outside political pressure.

“Attempts at bribery or extortion will not influence my vote at all,” she said Tuesday, referring to the crowdfunding campaign for her potential opponent.

“Sen. Collins will make up her mind based on the merits of the nomination,” spokeswoman Annie Clark said in a statement. “Threats or other attempts to bully her will not play a factor in her decision-making whatsoever.”

Murkowski has been more tight-lipped about her decision-making process, and she is now facing additional pressure from Alaska natives, who are flooding her offices to urge her to oppose Kavanaugh over his views on fishing rights and environmental protections. Tribal communities were crucial to Murkowski’s re-election as an independent in 2010, after she lost the GOP primary to a tea party challenger…

I know it sucks to be living through this, but, if you can ignore all the terrible stuff, and the dystopian future that may be ahead of us, it’s kind of beautiful watching everybody come together to stop it from happening.

Speaking of fighting back… and of Planned Parenthood… the organization also announced a new leader today — Dr. Leana Wen. Wen, as you can see in the following video, is a fighter. As Health Commissioner of Baltimore, she successfully sued the Trump administration for cutting teen pregnancy prevention funds, and I get the sense from everything I’ve read about her since, that she’s just getting started. [If I were Collins, I’d be concerned. Wen looks like a formidable adversary.]

If you’d like to give a few dollars to Planned Parenthood as a way of saying “welcome aboard” to Leana Wen, you can do so here.

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  1. Posted September 12, 2018 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    This, of course, assumes that every Democrat does the right thing and votes against Kavanaugh. If not, all this worrying about Collins and Murkowski is pointless.

    Speaking of which, I just read the following from CNN’s Manu Raju.

    Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a key Dem swing vote, says this just now when I asked if she has seen any red flags on Brett Kavanaugh: “Not that I’ve seen so far… But I’m still reviewing the record.”

    I get that they don’t want to say until they know how the Republicans are voting, but, really, “no red flags”? That’s insane. At the very least, she could have said, “Well the lying under oath does make me wonder…”

  2. ElsieGal
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    I am not holding out hope about Collins and Murkowski, but fingers crossed nevertheless. About the new PP president: I haven’t read much else about her, but boy oh boy is that a powerful video introduction to Dr. Wen. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Kim
    Posted September 13, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I’m pissed off about Collins calling that grassroots campaign a “bribe.” Does she say the same of the corporate PAC dollars that she takes on a daily basis. I have no respect for her.

  4. Maria Huffman
    Posted September 13, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    How many abortions does it take before a woman becomes sterile – which means being unable to ever get pregnant again? two , maybe three.

  5. Lynne
    Posted September 13, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Maria, abortions do not cause infertility unless there are complications, which are rare. They are easier on the body than birthing a baby.

  6. Fake News
    Posted September 13, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    “How many abortions does it take before a woman becomes sterile – which means being unable to ever get pregnant again? two , maybe three.”

    This poster provides no evidence at all to support her statement, yet presents it as fact.


  7. free jeans
    Posted September 13, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Senator King of Maine says that, based on a review of the judge’s record and “the opinions of thousands of Maine people” who contacted him or his office, he will be voting no on Kavanaugh.


  8. wobblie
    Posted September 13, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Looks like Sen. Feinstein has been sitting on a letter accusing Kavenaugh of committing a sexual assault while in High School. Too bad she does not think it worth sharing with the other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. Looks like Judge Thomas is about to get a friend on the court to replace Scalia.

  9. Lynne
    Posted September 14, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    wobblie, just because YOU are willing to throw women under the bus, it doesnt mean Feinstein is. There are real privacy concerns here.

  10. wobblie
    Posted September 14, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    You can easily redact her name. Redact her name so the that the other Senators can see what her accusation is. . Feinstein sat on this letter for weeks. The woman sent it to her for a reason! There was evidently a male accomplice, they could have been looking him up as a corroborating witness. Instead Feinstein sat on it, and only yesterday asked the FBI to investigate–Too Late they say. Thanks again @Resistance.

  11. Lynne
    Posted September 14, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Yes. I will agree that Feinstein should have made this info available to her fellow Senators with the name redacted sooner. However, I also appreciate her caution here especially after the way Anita Hill was treated.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted September 14, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    The real story is that the Republicans knew about this sexual attack charge for some time as evidenced by the fact that they today released a letter signed by 65 women who knew Kavanagh as a teen and claim to have never seen him attack anyone.

  13. wobblie
    Posted September 14, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Anita Hill is a heroine. Because she showed courage we know the character of Judge Thomas. This woman sent the letter to Feinstein for a reason. I do not believe that it was for Feinstein and her to have this little secret between them. From what I gather from the news, she was not going to be a victim when this occurred when she was in high school (any more than Ms. Hill was going to be a victim). She obviously wanted the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee to do some thing. Feinstein who is in a tough re-election campaign was playing politics.

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted September 14, 2018 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Maria– I even know why you posted that in the context of this conversation, much less why you believe abortions cause infertility, but I suggest you head over to your local planned parenthood and get educated on the subject.

    Re Feinstein, it sounds as though the victim requested anonymity and didn’t want the letter released and Feinstein was honoring those wishes. Wobblie, I have no idea why you believe Feinstein was lying or would want to protect Kavanaugh. What evidence do you have?

  15. Maria Huffman
    Posted September 14, 2018 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanksfor your recommendation , but I will ignore it completely. Abortions do eventually cause infertility .

  16. Wobblie
    Posted September 15, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Never said Feinstein was lying. You just pulled that out of thin air.

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted September 15, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Wow. Well you have lots of company. You are still wrong however.

    If you are concerned about the fates of women who have multiple abortions, you should know that they are largely poor with inadequate access to reproductive health care and so birth control options. I suggest you support Planned Parenthood.

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted September 15, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Wobblie– You surmised that the woman wanted the situation exposed, and you stated that Feinstein prevented that from happening because she was ‘playing politics.’ . In fact, the victim did not want the issue exposed as reported by Feinstein and others and as corroborated by her unwillingness to speak to reporters about the issue. So, yes, you suggested Feinstein lied. And you did so based up on a scenario you made up without benefit of any information but your political bent.

  19. Maria Huffman
    Posted September 15, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    or you could wish them a nice family, instead of multiple abortions.

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted September 15, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Maria– You are abundantly naive, which is the nice way to say ignorant.

  21. wobblie
    Posted September 15, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    There you again JH,for making things up. Why did she send the letter? Feinstein had a duty to follow up on the letter. She could redact her name, happens all the time for investigative purposes. Obviously everyone in the know, seems to have known this was coming–why else did they have 40 high school females from Kavenaugh’s cohort all lined up. She evidently sat on it and did not pass it on for the FBI to consider in the background check. Clearly she was playing politics with this, probably thought some thing from 35 years ago after all the background checks Kavenaugh would have been subjected too (multiple Federal appointments along with the prior judicial one) could not be substantiated. But the real goal has got to be delay the process by hook or by crook until after the election–then the people will have spoken. Perhaps letting this out now is part of a stratagem. If it works then I’ll eat all my bad thoughts about Feinstein, if the Democrats end up rolling over for Kavenaugh then I will believe that I was right with my suspicions

  22. Lynne
    Posted September 15, 2018 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    wobblie, you know that because of you and people like you voting the way you did is the reason the Dems dont have the power to stop the Kavenaugh appointment, right? I wonder if your bad thoughts about Feinstein are due to you expecting a woman to clean up the mess you made and then getting frustrated that she isnt doing a good enough job. Of course the Dems are going to do everything they can, especially playing politics, to delay this confirmation but because of voters who vote third party or dont vote at all, the might not be in a position to.

  23. wobblie
    Posted September 16, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Lynne, this pretty much says it for me.

  24. Lynne
    Posted September 16, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    So I was right. You DO expect women to clean up the messes you and other men make.

    I agree with the author of that piece but when she, as a woman, suggests that women are going to have to be the ones to put a stop to this confirmation it is very different from when a man says that if is the responsibility of women to stop this confirmation. That is especially so when it is a man who was not concerned with how his vote would impact women when he chose not to vote for the one woman who could have guaranteed this guy wouldn’t get nominated.

  25. wobblie
    Posted September 16, 2018 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Lynne, you know it is Susan Sarandon’s fault. Looks like Feinstein tried to deep six these allegations and only through the courage of Ms. Ford is progress being made. If any female Senator votes for Kavenaugh or any Democrat then who are you going to scape goat then?

  26. Lynne
    Posted September 17, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    wobblie, Ms Ford has explicitly stated that Feinstein honored her request. Her lawyer stated that Feinstein in “unimpeachable” on this subject. So you know, you mind reading is lacking.

    I am not scape goating anyone. I am pointing out that guys like you threw women under the bus when you voted in 2016 so your criticisms of how the Dems are now working with the situation they have ring hollow. It is YOUR fault. Vote better in November or STFU

  27. Jean Henry
    Posted September 17, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I really have no idea why sexual assault, reproductive rights etc (and even misogyny) are considered women’s issues. It seems men have a very substantial stake in these issues as well.

  28. iRobert
    Posted September 17, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Don’t worry, wobbie. There isn’t a chance in hell any Democrat or woman is going to vote to confirm Kavenaugh now. A number of Republicans will refuse to do it now as well.

  29. iRobert
    Posted September 19, 2018 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    We haven’t heard from EOS on this thread. In fact, we haven’t heard from him since September 12th. I’m concerned. Can someone do a welfare check? Start with the strip clubs and massage parlors.

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