Less than a week after the US Supreme Court decision that ended constitutional protections for abortion, Planned Parenthood’s political arm endorsed three candidates running statewide in Massachusetts’ Democratic primary elections.
The Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts threw its weight Tuesday behind Attorney General Maura Healey for governor, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll for lieutenant governor, and former Boston city councilor Andrea Campbell for attorney general.
“As millions of people lose access to abortion and politicians threaten to restrict all reproductive rights across the country, we need state leaders that are bold, effective, unapologetic champions for sexual and reproductive health and rights to ensure Massachusetts remains a beacon for reproductive freedom and a safe place to access care,” PPAF president Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak said in a statement.
As abortion-rights voters are looking to put their dollars toward a cause, Planned Parenthood also finds itself in a good position to support its endorsed candidates this cycle.
Healey, whose primary opponent state Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz ended her campaign last week, was praised by Childs-Roshak for her record challenging federal attacks on access to abortion and birth control as attorney general, and her role overseeing the defense of Massachusetts’ Buffer Zone Law that aimed to protect patients from harassment at clinics.
Healey, who has also been endorsed by national abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America and was endorsed by Planned Parenthood in 2018 in her reelection bid for attorney general, was one of two dozen state attorneys general that joined in a pledge earlier this year to decline to prosecute abortion-related restrictions if the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade.
On the campaign trail and in recent media appearances, Healey has highlighted her early support for the Roe Act, which the Massachusetts legislature passed in December 2020 after overriding a veto from Governor Charlie Baker. The law expanded access by allowing abortions after 24 weeks in certain narrow cases and lowered the age that a person can obtain an abortion without parental consent to 16 from 18. It is considered one of the strongest abortion protection laws in the country.
Beyond her support in Massachusetts, Healey was also involved in litigation in various federal courts. Last year she was among two dozen attorneys general who urged the US Supreme Court to stop Texas’ six-week abortion ban, filing a brief in support of the Department of Justice’s challenge to the ban. She filed similar briefs with appeals courts in Arizona, Indiana, South Carolina, and Tennessee, where state legislatures passed bills that restricted access to abortions.
While she served as cochair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association, it became the first and only Democratic campaign committee to require candidates to publicly state their support for abortion rights in order to receive endorsements.
Planned Parenthood cited Driscoll’s record as Salem mayor as the reason for their endorsement, including her push to implement “comprehensive” sex education in Salem. In 2020, she joined a list of 17 mayors that encouraged the state Legislature to pass the Roe Act.
Driscoll is running against state Representative Tami Gouveia and state Senator Eric Lesser in the Democratic primary.
“At a time when abortion rights have been stripped away by far right justices, the essential battle for our most fundamental rights is now within states,” Driscoll said in a statement. “As Lieutenant Governor, I will build on my partnership with Planned Parenthood and its allies to fight for affordable, accessible abortion and health care for all at every level of government.”
In endorsing Campbell, Planned Parenthood cited the former Boston city councilor’s lived experience and her “deep understanding of the barriers many Planned Parenthood patients face.”
In a tweet Friday, Campbell said as attorney general she would “never stop using the power of this office to protect our patients, protect our providers, and protect a woman’s right to choose.”
“Andrea Campbell has been a champion for reproductive freedom, always centering the voices and experiences of people most impacted by restrictive and discriminatory policies because she’s lived it,” Childs-Roshak said.
Campbell is running against labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan and Quentin Palfrey, who served in the Biden and Obama administrations and was an assistant attorney general in Massachusetts.
Healey, for her part, will face one of two Republicans in November: Geoff Diehl, who describes himself as “pro-life” and Chris Doughty, who has said he generally disapproves of abortions.