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Leaked draft abortion decision recasts 2022 political realm

$150M was already prepped to be spent by abortion rights groups

Reproductive rights activists hold cut out photos of the Supreme Court justices as oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case are held on Wednesday, December 1, 2021. The case considers the constitutionality of Mississippi’s restrictive ban on abortion after 15 weeks.
Reproductive rights activists hold cut out photos of the Supreme Court justices as oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case are held on Wednesday, December 1, 2021. The case considers the constitutionality of Mississippi’s restrictive ban on abortion after 15 weeks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Cameras are already set up in front of the Supreme Court building this morning, waiting for more protests, after Politico reported on a leaked draft decision in a Mississippi case that indicates the justices had voted to overturn long-standing abortion rulings — including Roe v. Wade.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chair Patty Murray weighed in immediately in a statement: “If this is true, this kind of outcome is exactly what I’ve been ringing alarm bells about–and this is a five alarm fire.” The Washington Democrat is also a former chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith, a former state Planned Parenthood executive, indicated that the issue could recharge advocates, stating: “Let’s get organized and get to work.”

On the other side of the issue, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., an advocate for overturning Roe, tweeted: “I will say, if this is the Court’s opinion, it’s a heck of an opinion. Voluminously researched, tightly argued, and morally powerful.”

Abortion rights groups plan midterm spending

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY’s List previously announced on Monday that they planned to spend $150 million on the 2022 midterms with a focus on electing candidates to protect abortion rights.

States targeted will include Georgia, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, California, Kansas and Wisconsin and spending will go to congressional, gubernatorial and down-ballot races.

Polling released by Navigator Research last month found that 70 percent of Democrats say the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade would make them more likely to vote in the 2022 elections. The three groups plan to use the $150 million to reach voters through paid ads, research, polling, PAC contributions to candidates, and other trainings and in-person events.

Planned Parenthood and the conservative Susan B. Anthony List and their associated PACs both spent over $40 million each in the 2020 campaign cycle. NARAL spent $34.7 million that cycle. SBA List announced Monday that their ground team has visited more than 1.3 million voters in six battleground states with a focus on the Supreme Court and the midterm elections.

Looking ahead

Thirteen states have primary elections in May, including on Tuesday in Ohio and Indiana. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision in the abortion case Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization this term.

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