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NOVEMBER 4, 1998   10:38 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Planned Parenthood
Roberta Synal 202-973-6309
Roger Rathman 212-261-4652
 
1998 Election Results Are Huge Victory For Choice And Family Planning
 
WASHINGTON - November 4 -

Statement by Gloria Feldt, President Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Election 1998 was a resounding confirmation of American's support for family planning and a woman's right to choose. Victories by Chuck Schumer in New York, John Edwards in North Carolina, Barbara Boxer in California, Patty Murray in Washington, and Russ Feingold in Wisconsin are tremendous wins for women, sending a clear message that pro-choice voters will not tolerate an erosion of their constitutional rights.

The victories in this election are particularly gratifying because of the hurdles that had to be cleared. Tens of millions of dollars were invested by anti-choice groups in favor of candidates who would deny a woman's right to choose abortion and her access to family planning programs. Anti-choice groups made no gains in the Senate despite all their rhetoric and all their campaigning.

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) spent more than $1 million in what was the largest electoral project we had ever undertaken. PPAF endorsed 160 U.S. House and Senate candidates, 127 of whom received our PAC contributions ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Top PAC recipients include: Senate candidates Barbara Boxer, Chuck Schumer, Russ Feingold, and Patty Murray; House candidates include Joe Hoeffel (PA-13), Lane Evans (IL-17), Tom Udall (NM-3), Brian Baird (WA-3); Lois Capps (CA-22), Dennis Moore (KS-3), Loretta Sanchez (CA-46), Shelley Berkley (NV-1), Baron Hill (IN-9), and Maurice Hinchey (NY-26), all of whom won.

PPAF also targeted key swing House districts for independent expenditure campaigns that included voter identification, direct mail, and phonebanks to pro-choice voters. Each independent expenditure had a budget of at least $70,000 and included 7 contacts to each voter. Our efforts to energize our supporters and identify candidates' positions on choice and family planning have been tremendously successful, including the following winners: PA-13: Joe Hoeffel; NM-3: Tom Udall; IL-17: Lane Evans; and WA-3: Brian Baird. Planned Parenthood's statewide Action Fund in California conducted an extensive independent expenditure for Senator Barbara Boxer, including 150,000 slate mailers and a groundbreaking website.

The recent acts of domestic terrorism, particularly the assassination of Dr. Barnett Slepian, along with the continuation of virulent anti-choice rhetoric, have energized our core constituency. We are proud to say that pro-choice voters have honored the memory of Dr. Slepian by electing representatives who will help create a climate where women and their families can safely make responsible choices.

Most Americans support abortion rights and access to family planning. The Congress for too long has drifted from the wants and needs of the American public. Our job now will be to work harder to assure that more candidates who reflect the values of most Americans are elected in 2000.

Americans know better than to be swayed by anti-choice rhetoric and their votes show that logic prevails. We just need to ensure that the same logic prevails when Congress reconvenes. Members of Congress need to stay alert to what their constituents are saying about reproductive health and rights. We at Planned Parenthood pledge to help them stay in touch with the true pulse of America.

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