Planned Parenthood is gearing up for numerous rallies and events scheduled during recess week, hoping to build on the momentum from the recent protests at GOP lawmakers’ town halls.
Starting on Saturday as lawmakers head back to their home states for Presidents Day, the women’s health organization will be holding rallies, events and town halls across the country — many of them organized by supporters through Planned Parenthood’s "Defenders" program.
The move comes as congressional Republicans look to block the organization from receiving federal parents as part of an ObamaCare repeal. While federal money already can't be spent on funding abortions, anti-abortion groups and legislators want to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving federal healthcare money for providing other women's health services.
Planned Parenthood says it has 300 events planned throughout the month of February, with many of them concentrated during recess week. Some of those events include a rally outside Alaska’s statehouse and a rally in Milwaukee, Wis. on Feb. 25 to tout the organization’s support and push back on efforts to defund it.
There will also be two town halls in Nevada: one in Reno next Wednesday and another in Las Vegas next Thursday. The group said it will be contacting and showing up at Sen. Dean HellerDean HellerRed-state Dems in Supreme Court pressure cooker This week: House GOP faces make-or-break moment on ObamaCare Shutdown politics return to the Senate MORE’s (R-Nev.) office to invite him to attend. Heller, who is up for reelection in 2018, is Senate Democrats’ biggest target in the midterm elections.
Protesters have been flooding town halls in lawmakers’ home states, including those of Reps. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzOvernight Cybersecurity: House Intel chair says surveillance collected on Trump transition team House Oversight grills law enforcement on facial recognition tech Oversight committee asks White House, FBI for Flynn records MORE (R-Utah) and Diane BlackDiane BlackObamaCare repeal faces last obstacle before House vote Medicaid block grants give states more freedom Dems wonder: Can GOP even pass a budget? MORE (R-Tenn.), particularly over the looming battle over ObamaCare and pushing back on repeal of former President Obama’s signature healthcare law.
But House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin BradyGOP rushes to vote without knowing full impact of healthcare plan Overnight Healthcare: Trump threatens to leave ObamaCare in place if GOP bill fails House GOP postpones ObamaCare repeal vote MORE (R-Texas) pushed back against the protests addressing the fate of the law, saying they won’t change GOP plans to repeal and replace it.
Planned Parenthood has been a flashpoint in political campaigns and congressional politics.
Trump has previously said Planned Parenthood “has done very good work for millions of women,” but has also said the organization won’t be funded if it still performs abortions.
The group released a poll in January that found that half of likely voters would be less likely to support Heller and Sen. Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeOvernight Regulation: Senate moves to strike Obama-era internet privacy rules Overnight Tech: Senate votes to eliminate Obama internet privacy rules | FCC chief wants to stay out of 'political debate' on fake news | Wikileaks reveals new CIA docs Senate votes to block internet privacy regulations MORE (R-Ariz.) in 2018 if they voted to defund Planned Parenthood.
But the survey stands in contrast to a poll conducted by the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List that found a majority of voters in six 2018 battlegrounds would be less likely to support the Democratic senators representing those states if they vote to maintain funding.
This week, the House will be challenging Obama’s rule that bans states from withholding federal funding for Planned Parenthood and other healthcare providers and centers that perform abortions for political reasons.