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Action Fund Electoral Policy

Download: Local Candidate Questionnaire - updated 2012 questionnaire now available 

Note: Federal candidates should contact the national Action FUND office.

2012 Electoral Policy


The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, separately incorporated 501(c) (4) non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization affiliated with Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties. The Action Fund is dedicated to protecting and advocating freedom of choice through educational activities and the promotion and endorsement of pro-choice candidates.

A. Electoral Activities Guidelines

Under federal law, a duly incorporated (c) (4) organization may devote up to 49% of its expenditures and activities toward electoral activities. Protecting reproductive freedom and access to reproductive health care through the election of pro-choice candidates is the primary goal of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s electoral activities. This Electoral Policy incorporates the legal requirements for (c) (4) organizations, the organizational requirements established by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the non-partisan philosophy of the Action Fund.

The Action Fund’s electoral activities must be conducted independently of candidates and candidate committees. In accordance with laws governing independent expenditures, the Action Fund cannot coordinate its electoral activities with candidates or candidate committees. The Action Fund may decide to support a pro-choice candidate through an endorsement or, alternatively, public recognition of a candidate’s pro-choice positions. Support may take the form of newspaper and on-line advertisements, postings on the Action Fund website, email notices, voter guides, and, in the case of an endorsement, monetary donations. In addition, the Action Fund may choose to oppose an anti-choice candidate by appropriate identification of the candidate’s anti-choice position.

B. Pro-Choice Criteria

To be eligible for an endorsement or recognition as pro-choice, any candidate for elected or appointed office must at a minimum support:

  1. The Roe v. Wade opinion and oppose any attempt to overturn Roe;
  2. Public funding of abortion services, prenatal care, family planning, and other reproductive health care services for all who are eligible;
  3. The right of minors to confidential family planning, abortion, prenatal care, and sexually transmitted infection screening and treatment services;
  4. Comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality and HIV/AIDS education in public schools that is medically accurate and free of racial, ethnic, and gender bias;
  5. The provision of, or referral for, reproductive health care services by any health care entity that receives public funding for providing health care services;
  6. The inclusion of all reproductive health care services, including abortion, in any health reform plan; and
  7. The enactment of laws, and enforcement of existing laws, that protect reproductive health care providers, their staff and patients, and their families from the ongoing campaign of violence, intimidation, and harassment being waged against them.

C. Recognizing Candidates’ Pro-Choice Positions as an Alternative to Endorsement

In order to encourage pro-choice men and women to seek public office, the Action Fund has the option of publicly recognizing candidates’ pro-choice positions in a suitable manner.

To qualify for pro-choice recognition, a candidate must meet the pro-choice criteria listed in the “Pro-Choice Criteria” section above, and be a viable candidate.

D. Endorsements

1. Criteria for Endorsements:

To qualify for an endorsement, in addition to meeting the pro-choice criteria above, the candidate must:

a. Have engaged in specific activities which demonstrate a commitment to pro- choice positions;

b. Articulate how he or she intends to strengthen or expand access to reproductive health care, as appropriate for the candidate’s office.

2. Other Endorsement Policies:

a. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund will endorse only one candidate for each open seat.

b. If two or more candidates for any given open seat are equally pro-choice, the Action Fund may decide not to endorse any candidate and, instead, communicate to voters the pro-choice views of all such candidates.

c. Pro-choice incumbents seeking re-election in local elections no longer enjoy a presumption that they will be endorsed in their re-election bid. Such incumbents must demonstrate how, during their previous term(s) of office, they have actively advanced or strengthened the cause of reproductive freedom and access to reproductive health care.

d. Candidates who have taken a leadership role in or have actively advocated for reproductive freedom and access to reproductive health care will be given priority in the endorsement process.

e. Other factors to be considered include, but are not limited to:

i. Whether the candidate will make choice and access to reproductive health care an issue in his or her campaign; and/or

ii. Whether the Action Fund’s endorsement will be publicized in campaign literature.

f. In some circumstances, the Action Fund may endorse a candidate who does not meet every criterion outlined above.

g. The Action Fund recognizes that strong pro-choice candidates are not limited to any one political party and will be non-partisan in its endorsements.

E. Endorsement and Recognition Procedures

1. Candidates seeking the Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s endorsement or recognition are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the electoral policies available on request by mail or at, for downloading or otherwise obtaining the questionnaires relevant to their particular race, and for filling out and submitting all required materials in a timely manner to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund for consideration. (All questionnaires used to determine endorsements or recognition are available on the Action Fund’s website.)

2. In order to obtain an early endorsement, a candidate must complete and return the application materials, have publicly declared their candidacy, and demonstrate how they have rendered extraordinary commitment to Planned Parenthood’s mission. The purpose of an early endorsement is to give an advantage in the race to an exceptionally qualified candidate who, if elected, will advance the cause of reproductive freedom and health care.

3. Action Fund endorsements and recognitions are issued for the current election cycle only and are revocable at any time. Previously endorsed or recognized candidates must apply for endorsement or recognition each time they run.

4. Candidates seeking the Action Fund’s endorsement may be personally interviewed, as determined by the Action Fund’s Electoral Committee.

5. Candidates’ responses to the supplemental questionnaire relating to campaign strategy, organization, etc. will be held in confidence. Responses to the primary questionnaire relating to the candidate’s positions on reproductive health care may be made public.

Candidates or their designated staff are encouraged to contact Christine Lyon, VP Planned Parenthood Action Fund SBVSLO with questions at (805) 722-1508 or


The web site is a collaborative project of:
Community Action Fund of Planned Parenthood Orange and San Bernardino Counties
Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest
Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific Action Fund
Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties
Planned Parenthood Advocates Mar Monte
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project Los Angeles County
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California

A project of Planned Parenthood Action Funds in California, 501(c)(4) organizations. Copyright 2013,
Paid for by the local Planned Parenthood 501(c)4 organization PAC and local Planned Parenthood 501(c)4 organization. (
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.