Planned Parenthood prepares to fight 'Stupak amendment'

WASHINGTON: Planned Parenthood is using media relations and its network of supporters to reinforce to policymakers that the organization opposes an amendment in one of the healthcare bills that would limit coverage for abortions.

WASHINGTON: Planned Parenthood is using media relations and its network of supporters to reinforce to policymakers that the organization opposes an amendment in one of the healthcare bills that would limit coverage for abortions.

The organization plans to announce a new coalition the week of November 23 and is preparing to hold a second lobbying day in Washington on December 2, said Stuart Schear, VP of communications for Planned Parenthood. A lobbying day was held November 18.

“Our primary focus is on a specific list of members of Congress,” said Schear. “We want to make sure that we generate direct communications to them as well as coverage through the media on Op-Ed pages [and] editorial boards that reaches those particular members.”

Although Planned Parenthood has been involved in the healthcare reform debate since the presidential election in 2008, Schear said it is now focusing its efforts on what has been labeled the Stupak amendment.

The amendment was authored by US Representatives Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joe Pitts (R-PA). It would prohibit coverage of elective abortions for women covered by government-run plans, as well as those who purchase private plans through the proposed national exchange.

“We're not praising the status quo but we're willing to accept it,” said Schear. “What we're not willing to accept is health reform that actually makes healthcare less available to women.”

Planned Parenthood has reached out to The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC News, Fox News, CNN, and MSN. In addition, the communications team is reaching out to women's magazines and providing talking points to celebrity supporters.

“We are very active through our Facebook presence in mobilizing our supporters and friends,” said Schear. “We also have a very strong online presence through e-mails to our activists.”

Planned Parenthood is also providing tools and talking points to its supporters so that they can provide their friends and family with information about the amendment during the Thanksgiving holiday.

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