Groups to take anti-Kavanaugh message across America

A coalition of progressive organizations plan to bring the national debate over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to voters in 16 key congressional districts on Saturday, organizers from the liberal groups tell CNN, using the national reckoning on sexual assault and the treatment of women as a turnout tool ahead of November’s midterm elections.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political arm of the nonprofit reproductive health care organization, Organizing for Action, a group closely tied with former President Barack Obama, and Swing Left, a progressive congressional organization that sprung up out of the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, will have hundreds of organizers knocking doors and working in seven states on Saturday in what the groups are calling a Women’s Health Day of Action.

While the groups, particularly Planned Parenthood, have opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court over his views on abortion, the recent spate of news on alleged sexual assault and excessive drinking in the nominee’s youth, which culminated in closely watched testimony by professor Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh, has altered the focus of the door knocking with volunteers now looking to draw a direct line between women’s health and the allegations against Kavanaugh, which he has denied.

“Women are fed up with politicians dismissing sexual assault survivors, undermining access to Planned Parenthood health centers, and reshaping the Supreme Court to gut the constitutional right to safe, legal abortion,” said Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Women are poised to serve a reckoning this November that is decades in the making, and this partnership is a signal that we’re all right there with them.”

Although the debate over Kavanaugh has put the Senate in the spotlight, namely Democrats Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp, Republican and Democratic operatives alike believe that the impacts of the national conversation on Ford’s allegations could most directly impact key House races that are being fought in the suburbs of America’s largest cities.

Door knocking efforts like the one organized by Planned Parenthood, Organizing for Action and Swing Left are an effort to turn those fears into reality, especially in key House races where the balance of the legislative body could be determined in November.

Organizers, according to the groups, will be in AZ-2, CA-10, CA-45, CA-48, IA-1, IA-3, NJ-11, NJ-7, NJ-3, TX-7, TX-23, TX-32, VA-2, VA-5, VA-7 and VA-10 on behalf of Democrats in each race.

All races are competitive and highlight how Democratic organizations believe in anti-Kavanaugh messaging with an emphasis on women’s health, especially in contested House districts.

“If we want to protect women’s health from the constant Republican attacks, it’s not enough to just vote this year,” Adrienne Lever, political director at Swing Left, said in a statement. “We need each and every person to knock on doors and make calls so that we can break out of our silos and bring about electoral change.”

Kavanaugh’s nomination has invigorated the fight over women’s reproductive rights in the United States, with groups like Planned Parenthood fearing his ascension to the highest court could mean the end to laws outlined in Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision.

Recent polling has shown, however, that voters overwhelmingly believe Roe v. Wade should remain the law of the land. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released in July found 71 percent of American voters think the decision should stand, with 23 percent believing it should be overturned. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found a similar landscape, with 67 percent of Americans believing the decision should stand and 29 percent thinking the decision should be overturned.

Organizers of Saturday’s day of action said those sentiments contribute to an enthusiasm on the left to stop Kavanaugh’s nomination and get voters to the polls in November.

“The level of engagement and enthusiasm OFA has seen this cycle, among seasoned organizers and brand new volunteers alike, has been overwhelming,” said Katie Hogan, executive director of Organizing for Action. “And women have been leading the charge.”