J.B. Pritzker-backed abortion-focused group launches first paid ad campaign on 2024 cycle

Written by on June 24, 2024

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks to auto workers before the arrival of President Joe Biden at the Community Complex Building in Belvedere, IL, November 09, 2023. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(WASHINGTON) — Think Big America, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, on Monday starts running its first paid advertising campaign of the 2024 election cycle across three “reproductive rights battleground states” where the group is supporting ongoing abortion access ballot initiative campaigns.

The 60-second digital ad, released on the second anniversary of the Dobbs decision, is meant to depict “the stark reality pregnant women face in a post-Dobbs America,” according to a spokesperson for the nonprofit group, which shared details of the ad buy first with ABC News.

The spot, part of the group’s six-figure spending targeting and aimed at independent voters, will run on YouTube and connected television platforms in Arizona and Nevada, two states where measures related to protecting abortion will likely be on their November ballots, and in Florida, where an abortion-related ballot initiative is confirmed to appear in front of voters.

“Two years ago, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court not only ripped away abortion access for tens of millions of women, they turned the clock back 50 years on reproductive healthcare,” said Pritzker in a statement.

“Because of Donald Trump and his MAGA extremists, women are now being denied life-saving care and doctors face jail for doing their job. Unless we act, these cruel attacks on our rights and freedoms will only continue to escalate. This November, we must defeat MAGA extremists and their anti-woman agenda once and for all,” he added.

The ad features a young woman looking at her cell phone as she waits for the results of her pregnancy test, digesting news headlines about some of the negative impacts of abortion restrictions following the Dobbs decision.

“MAGA extremists want to enforce a national abortion ban putting millions of lives at risk,” reads the ad’s text. “Only we can stop them.”

Former President Donald Trump has declined to endorse a national abortion ban, saying as recently as Saturday that the issue should be left to individual states.

“The people will decide, and that’s the way it should be. The people are now deciding,” Trump said Saturday at Faith & Freedom Coalition’s annual Road to Majority conference in Washington, D.C.

Launched in October 2023, Think Big America is focused on protecting and expanding abortion rights around the country, with a particular focus on supporting abortion rights ballot measures.

Abortion or reproductive rights-related ballot initiatives are confirmed on the general election ballots in four states: Florida, Maryland, South Dakota and Colorado. Overall, they could be on the November 2024 ballot in at least 11 states (including those four).

In Arizona, the Arizona for Abortion Access campaign is working to get a constitutional amendment on the state’s ballot enshrining abortion access through a petition drive/citizen-initiated measure. The campaign has said that they have gathered over 500,000 signatures — surpassing the 383,923-signature threshold to get a ballot initiative on the Arizona general election ballot.

The proposed amendment would amend Arizona’s state constitution to prohibit the state from legislating against abortion up until fetal viability and enshrines other abortion protections into law.

In Nevada, organizers for an abortion rights ballot initiative announced in late May that they had turned in over 200,000 signatures to the Nevada Secretary of State’s office, far surpassing the 102,362 signature requirement.

The signatures submitted will need to be verified by the Nevada Secretary of State’s office and the initiative is not yet confirmed on Nevada’s ballot.

Under the proposed section, according to the petition’s text, abortion access would be enshrined in the state constitution up to fetal viability; the state would be allowed to legislate about abortion after fetal viability unless a health care provider says abortion is necessary. Abortion is currently legal until 24 weeks in Nevada, and a 1990 referendum in the state reaffirmed the law (making it impossible to amend or repeal the abortion law without another referendum). If the initiative is certified for the ballot and passes in 2024, it would still need to pass another vote in 2026 to amend the state’s constitution.

The only state among the three targeted by Think Big where an abortion-access ballot initiative is confirmed to be on the ballot is Florida. In April, the state Supreme Court decided to allow the ballot initiative that would enshrine abortion rights in the state’s Constitution to be on their November ballot.

If the referendum prevails in November, it will undo Florida’s abortion ban. The amendment is sponsored by Floridians Protecting Freedom. In January, the group surpassed the required number of signatures to put a referendum in front of voters.

Pritzker is a rising star Democrat who has tapped into his vast personal wealth to boost Think Big. Thus far, the nonprofit group has given $1 million to Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom, $250,000 to Arizona for Abortion Access with a commitment of $1 million, and $500,000 to Floridians Protecting Freedom.

They’ve also contributed to Montana’s abortion initiative, to pro-abortion-rights groups in Ohio, where voters last November overwhelmingly decided to enshrine abortion protections into their state constitution, and gave $250,000 to Virginia Democrats ahead of their state legislative elections.

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