Planned Parenthood adds $10m to Democrat war chest in North Carolina

Planned Parenthood adds $10m to Democrat war chest in North Carolina

Planned Parenthood is planning to spend $10m — its largest single state investment — to help fund Democratic organising efforts in North Carolina's swing districts.

The investment is aimed at driving voters to support the Democrats running for office in the state — including a contested governor's race — as well as to bolster turnout for Joe Biden in the 2024 election.

In 2020, Mr Biden lost North Carolina to Donald Trump by just over a percentage point. A recent analysis by Moody's Analytics suggests that state could flip blue in 2024.

Critically, North Carolina is the only Deep South state where abortion is still legal after six weeks of pregnancy. That fact has become a major talking point for Democrats campaigning in the state this year, the New York Times reports.

Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson, who is running for the Republicans in the state's gubernatorial race, has endorsed a total ban on abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected. He has previously called abortion "murder," and insisted that when a woman becomes pregnant her body no longer belongs to her, even though he admitted having paid for an abortion in 1989.

Mr Robinson is running against Democrat Josh Stein, the state's attorney general.

Democrats are hoping that Mr Robinson's staunch stance on abortion, combined with grass-roots efforts and the new organising investment made by Planned Parenthood, will help motivate concerned voters to back them come November.

“As we head into November, all eyes are on North Carolina because abortion access across the entire region will be determined by the results of this election,” Emily Thompson, the deputy director of Planned Parenthood Votes South Atlantic and the spokesperson for the organisation's super PAC, Planned Parenthood Votes, said in a statement.

Planned Parenthood's investment will reportedly focus not just on the gubernatorial and presidential elections, but also 16 state legislature races. Democrats in North Carolina need to pick up a single seat and hold onto the ones they have in order to break the Republican supermajority in the state legislature.

Mike Lonergan, a spokesman for Mr Robinson, brushed off Planned Parenthood's planned investment, saying it was part of the "same old playbook" used by Democrats in the past, and called both the Democratic Party and the organisation "extreme and out of step with our state's values."

While that may have been true at one point, it may not be so in modern day North Carolina; the state has one of the fastest-growing populations in the US, with most of the newcomers moving into urban counties which typically vote for Democrats.

Mr Lonergan said that while Mr Robinson will support the fetal hearbeat bill to eliminate nearly all abortions, the lieutenant governor “also wants to turn North Carolina into a destination state for life by doing more to support women that choose life, like improving our foster-care and adoption systems, and preserving access to I.V.F".

Planned Parenthood's organisers have said they will spend their time trying to reach suburban white women early on in their campaign, and that the organisation has hired advocates who will target young Black and Latino voters as well.

Anderson Clayton, the state's Democratic Party Chair, told The Independent that "it is now or never for us" in North Carolina.

"We either have it happen in 2024 or we go to sleep for ten years," he said. "If we lose this Supreme Court seat this year, we’ve got no chance to take back the courts in 2028, which means we’re under gerrymandered maps for the next 10 years in North Carolina.”