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Planned Parenthood jumps into Georgia race

The race for women's votes is on.
Georgia Democratic US Senate candidate Michelle Nunn hosts a roundtable discussion in Atlanta, Ga. on Oct. 24, 2014.
Georgia Democratic US Senate candidate Michelle Nunn hosts a roundtable discussion in Atlanta, Ga. on Oct. 24, 2014.
With Democrats increasingly pinning their hopes on Michelle Nunn winning a Georgia Senate seat, Planned Parenthood is among the groups sending reinforcements. For the first time, the organization's advocacy and political arms are jumping into the race with digital ads and direct mail to about 75,000 voters in the Atlanta area. 

Polls in the race have generally found Nunn enjoying a wide advantage with female voters.

“Voters need to be clear on one thing: David Perdue is out of touch with Georgia women on issues like access to birth control and equal pay,” said Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates of the Republican candidate. 

One ad shows a young black woman and the words "Georgia women can't afford David Perdue." Another notes he would "eliminate no-copay birth control" and "doesn't support equal pay." 

A mailer reads, "David Perdue’s company was sued by more than 2,000 women for discrimination." That refers to a finding by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that Dollar General, a company Perdue led at the time, discriminated against female employees. Mother Jones reported that female managers at the company said in sworn statements, "Dollar General has set up a pay system which permits stereotypes about men and women to be used in judging their pay, performance, and salary needs. This includes stereotypes about men being the breadwinner, head of the household, or just more deserving because they are men." Dollar General later settled a class action discrimination claim for over $15 million.

Perdue said in a questionnaire for the National Right to Life Committee that he opposes abortion except to save a woman's life, or in the case of rape and incest reported to a law enforcement agency. He said he would support a federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks, legislation that has already passed the House of Representatives and been introduced in the Senate, as well as vote to defund Planned Parenthood.

EMILY's List, another pro-choice Democratic group that has endorsed Nunn, has added another $200,000 to its television buy in Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, bringing the total to $600,000. 

Reproductive rights have not loomed large in the Georgia Senate race so far. In the Republican primary, Perdue bested Karen Handel, who led the Susan G. Komen for the Cure push to defund Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screening funds -- and resigned in the uproar that followed. Handel later published a book called "Planned Bullyhood."