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Women's Health Issues Key for Both Parties in Senate Campaigns

Women's Health Issues Key for Both Parties in Senate Campaigns

August 20, 2014 — Republicans vying for Senate seats in the midterm election are working to rally abortion-rights opponents and "counterbalance" Democrats' criticism of GOP positions on women's health issues, The Hill reports.

Republicans would need to gain six Senate seats to win control of the chamber, according to The Hill.

The GOP strategy is built around a bill (S 1670) from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. A conservative group called Women Speak Out PAC is targeting three Democratic senators who oppose Graham's bill: Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Kay Hagan (N.C.).

The group plans to spend between $8 million and $10 million this election cycle, fund several ad campaigns and set up field offices in key states. Another group called National Right to Life Victory Fund plans to spend $250,000 on advertising against Landrieu.

Democrats Target GOP's Stance on Birth Control

Meanwhile, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, EMILY's List and other abortion-rights groups are backing Democratic candidates in federal and state races and highlighting Republicans' efforts to restrict birth control access, among other issues. The groups have "an enormous cash advantage" over their antiabortion-rights counterparts, according to The Hill (Viebeck, The Hill, 8/20).

EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock argued that "momentum" is also on Democrats' side. "Democratic women have been at the forefront on every major issue and not only are Americans impressed, they are ready to send them reinforcements," she said.

Donors have contributed more than $46 million to candidates and political committees linked to EMILY's List, including nearly $6 million in July alone. The group is supporting senators such as Hagan and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), as well as several state-level Democratic candidates (Elliot, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 8/20).

PPAF likely will spend up to $20 million during this election cycle, including $3 million in North Carolina (The Hill, 8/20).