Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois Starts Group to Promote Abortion Rights


Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois is starting an advocacy group to promote abortion rights around the country, seeking to blunt the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade and to elevate an issue that has energized Democrats in elections.

Mr. Pritzker, who easily won re-election last year, has not said how much of his own money he will invest in the new organization, but he is worth billions of dollars. The new organization, Think Big America, will help fund state ballot measures — typically expensive endeavors — to codify abortion rights in states whose legislatures have enacted or could enact abortion bans. Voters have consistently supported such measures since the court did away with the constitutional right to an abortion last year, approving them in every state where they have been offered and, conversely, rejecting abortion restrictions in every state where they have been proposed.

One such measure will be on the ballot in Ohio next month: a constitutional amendment that would establish a right to abortion, contraception, fertility treatment and miscarriage care. Ohio has a six-week abortion ban on the books that is not currently in effect because of a legal challenge, but that could take effect if the state Supreme Court allows it.

Efforts are underway to have similar measures on ballots in Arizona, Florida and Nevada next year.

A spokeswoman for Think Big America said the group was providing “financial and strategic support” to the campaigns in Ohio, Arizona and Nevada, including putting members on advisory boards, helping to develop messaging and analyzing polls. She added that it was also prepared to help with direct voter contact and, if applicable, legal challenges.

The creation of the organization was first reported by Politico.

Mr. Pritzker is widely seen as a future presidential candidate, and — like another possible White House contender, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California — has advertised his state as an oasis from Republican policies and an emblem of Democratic governance.

In a video on Wednesday, Mr. Pritzker condemned abortion bans, but also singled out Republican efforts to restrict voting and to ban some books discussing race and gender from school curriculums and libraries — suggesting that his organization could eventually focus on those issues, too.

“Over the last few years, the far-right agenda has only become more extreme,” he said. “The end of reproductive rights, widespread book bans, a rollback of voting rights and civil rights, the erosion of trust in our institutions — that will be our permanent reality if we don’t act now.”



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