The NIRH Action Fund believes that the vast majority of U.S. voters think that a woman who has decided to have an abortion should be able to access to safe, legal, supportive, affordable care in her community, without shame or pressure.

To make this vision a reality, the NIRH Action Fund engages in message-driven campaigns to challenge conventional electoral wisdom, pilot new ideas, and mobilize voters to turn out to vote for candidates who are champions for reproductive freedom.


In 2020 NIRH Action Fund commissioned polling in Arizona and Pennsylvania that revealed widespread voter support for abortion access.

NIRH Action Fund commissioned polling in 2020 that found widespread support for abortion access in the key battleground states of Arizona and Pennsylvania. This polling builds on NIRH’s national and state-based public opinion and message research conducted since 2016. The Arizona and Pennsylvania surveys yield strikingly similar results, and indicate that voters in these states and beyond are ready for elected officials to advance a bold vision for reproductive freedom. Candidates and campaigns can lead and win on a platform of values-based support for reproductive freedom, specifically abortion access.

Read the full memo here.

In 2020 NIRH Action Fund partnered with state reproductive health, rights, and justice groups and progressive infrastructure organizations to demonstrate the electorate’s support for abortion access and support champions for elected office.

In 2020, in addition to our extensive message testing and training of campaigns, NIRH Action Fund partnered with Arizona Families First to integrate abortion access as a primary message within several strategically important legislative campaigns. NIRH Action Fund, along with its partners, celebrated the gain of one Senate seat (SD28) and one House seat (HD20), as well as protection of champions in highly competitive districts. Following years of demographic shifts and solid in-state organizing, Arizona remains within reach of securing legislative majorities that support reproductive freedom. 

New Mexico serves as a critical Southwestern access point for reproductive health, including abortions throughout pregnancy. While Democrats already held a trifecta in New Mexico before the 2020 elections, conservative Democrats have historically blocked critical legislation related to reproductive health and abortion access. 

Continuing our work from previous cycles, and after seven conservative Democrats voted to protect an outdated pre-Roe abortion ban, in 2020 NIRH Action Fund partnered with Forward Together Action and Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico to support their program in both the primary and general elections to engage and activate voters, and hold the conservative Democrats accountable for their bad votes. NIRH Action Fund’s partners implemented a political program that included mail, digital ads, texting, and phone banking. 

In the primary, all seven conservative Democrats attracted challengers, and five of those pro-choice challengers won. Among the ousted incumbents were two of the most powerful members of the state senate—Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen and Chair of the Finance Committee John Arthur Smith–who had used their positions of power to stymie progress on reproductive freedom. 

In the general election, NIRH Action Fund was able to help secure legislative majorities fully supportive of reproductive freedom. In the Senate, five seats were gained, including  three of the more progressive Democrats who won their races (SD5-Leo Jaramillo, SD28-Siah Correa Hemphill, SD38 Carrie Hamblen) and two critical Republican-held seats that flipped to Democratic control (SD10-Katy Duhigg, SD23-Harold Pope Jr.). In the House, all of the more progressive Democrats who replaced more conservative members of their caucus, whom NIRH Action Fund supported  in 2018, were reelected (HD13-Patricial Roybal Caballero, HD33-Michaela Lara Cadena, HD41-Susan Herrera, HD43-Christine Chandler, HD46-Andrea Romero).

A mailer for Siah Correa Hemphill

NIRH-AF PAC has been working for many years to create a legislature that will not only pass proactive abortion legislation, but will also ensure that New York removes any remaining barriers to care. In 2020, NIRH-AF protected and expanded our pro-choice majority in both houses, with NIRH-AF PAC-endorsed candidates securing a veto-proof super majority in the state Senate. That means that, in just two election cycles, we have helped to shift New York from a divided government where legislative advances on reproductive freedom were unattainable first to a pro-choice trifecta and now to a state government well situated to build upon our 2019 victory in passing the Reproductive Health Act (RHA). In addition to protecting nearly every seat gained in 2018, we helped to elect a strong cohort of prochoice senators in upstate communities, all of whom ran on their support of the RHA and their intention to expand abortion access.

See the list of NIRH Action Fund PAC endorsed candidates here.

In 2020, NIRH Action Fund worked in this key battleground state and engaged in message testing and training to ensure that candidates and campaigns were confident elevating the issue of reproductive freedom and abortion access on the campaign trail.  Additionally, the NIRH Action Fund PAC was formed in Pennsylvania and partnered with the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee to integrate abortion access as a primary message within several  highly competitive state legislative campaigns. Following record turnout, this important state went for Biden for President, yet state legislative gains did not come to fruition. However, the work done by NIRH Action Fund in 2020 helps lay the groundwork for future legislative wins.


In 2019 NIRH Action Fund partnered with state reproductive health, rights, and justice groups to demonstrate the electorate’s support for abortion access and support champions for elected office.

In 2019, Virginia voters flipped the General Assembly to support reproductive freedom – in rejection of an anti-choice disinformation campaign that spread false and inflammatory lies.

This win completed the trajectory that Virginia has been on for several cycles, proving that the vast majority of Virginians believe that every woman should have the freedom and ability to control her body, life, and future.

The NIRH Action Fund has worked in Virginia throughout several election cycles (see below). In 2019, with the nation’s eyes on Virginia as a bellwether for 2020 elections, NIRH Action Fund partnered with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia to run a multi-layered campaign in key districts throughout the Commonwealth to educate and turn out pro-choice voters.

This electoral program focused on calling out the true agenda of anti-choice politicians and candidates — to ban abortion, criminalize doctors, and punish women — while drawing a contrast with candidates who believe that women should be able to control their bodies, lives, and futures.

The program included direct mail and an extensive ground operation including canvassing and phone banking, on behalf of the following victorious candidates:

  • Delegate Hala Ayala (HD51), who has used her elected position to protect women’s health and ensure that abortion care remains safe, legal, and accessible;
  • Delegate Kathy Tran (HD42), who has stood up for the proactive policies that Virginians need in order to make abortion more accessible and improve women’s lives across the Commonwealth;
  • Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (HD31), who is a proven champion for reproductive freedom and stood strong for reproductive rights during her freshman term in the House of Delegates even in the face of adversity, often speaking out during the disinformation campaign launched by anti-abortion politicians earlier this year;
  • Senate candidate Ghazala Hashmi (SD10), who challenged anti-choice incumbent Glen Sturdivant. Hashmi becomes the first Muslim person elected to the Virginia State Senate.

The NIRH Action Fund partnered with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia to take on some harder-to-win races as well. The following candidates were not victorious, but nonetheless challenged the entrenched and vociferously anti-woman candidates who should be made to account for their records:

  • House candidate Sheila Bynum-Coleman (HD66) challenged anti-choice Kirk Cox, the entrenched Speaker of the House; this political program forced Cox to defend his long record of leading anti-abortion measures and spend down his massive war chest to defend his own seat, rather than lend support to fellow anti-choice candidates;
  • House candidate Karen Mallard (HD84)challenged Delegate Glen Davis, one of the elected officials who has led efforts to ban abortion, criminalize doctors, and threaten women’s health in Virginia.
  • Senate candidate Amanda Pohl (SD11), challenged sitting Senator Amanda Chase, whose record includes making it a felony for doctors to perform abortion and has stated that “it’s those who are naïve and unprepared that end up being raped,” in addition to denying rape survivors timely access to abortion care; going into 2020, Chase will not be able to evade her extremist record.


The NIRH Action Fund partnered with state reproductive health, rights, and justice groups to demonstrate the electorate’s support for abortion access and support champions for elected office.

The result? The NIRH Action Fund and our partners helped candidates strengthen their stances on abortion access and appeal more effectively to voters, chalking up wins that send a strong signal to states with new and strengthened pro-choice governments: they must advance a proactive agenda by introducing and enacting laws that enhance reproductive freedom in upcoming legislative sessions.

We partnered with Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Delaware to support elected officials who voted to repeal a pre-Roe abortion ban in 2018, buttress rising champions, and demonstrate the clear advantage for candidates who run on a bold agenda supporting abortion rights and access.

● Protected eight key champions of reproductive health in the Senate and House and elected one new champion
● Strengthened candidates’ public stance for abortion access and created momentum for removing the final piece of Delaware’s pre-Roe criminal abortion law in the next session.

We partnered with NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts to defeat anti-choice candidates and illustrate the critical importance of abortion access for voters. As part of these efforts, we conducted a first-of-its-kind poll of Massachusetts voters, including an oversample of Catholic voters, regarding reproductive freedom and abortion access. These findings, showing that Massachusetts voters, including Catholics, overwhelmingly support policies that recognize the right to abortion and improve access, were part of a larger public education campaign that has laid the groundwork for policy movement in the year ahead.

● Successfully ousted the Commonwealth’s most vociferous, long-standing anti-choice House member—sending a powerful message that such views are anathema to voters there.
● Used our polling results to elevate abortion access as a key issue for legislators, resulting in public strengthening of their stances on specific policies to be taken up in the next legislative session.

The NIRH Action Fund’s work centered on supporting true champions who will lead on a bold reproductive freedom agenda, creating an expectation that the state will repeal its pre-Roe criminal abortion laws. We partnered with Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico, Strong Families New Mexico, ProgressNow New Mexico, and others to support and train the most diverse and woman-centric ballot the state has ever seen—and to ensure that New Mexico voters stood with them. Through direct engagement, we and our state partners encouraged and emboldened candidates to be outspoken in their campaigns and to be leaders on the issue once in office.


● All five priority state House candidates won.
● Multiple legislators stated on record that a bill to protect abortion rights is a top priority in the new session.
● Our partners engaged rural communities in ongoing discussion about abortion access, laying the groundwork for champions, and the state’s new pro-choice governor, to move forward on their commitment to repeal the state’s pre-Roe criminal abortion ban
● Candidates used NIRH Action Fund messaging to demonstrate their commitment to advancing reproductive freedom, as in the mailer below:

The NIRH Action Fund PAC and the Committee for a Pro-Choice New York supported efforts to create a pro-choice trifecta in state government, supporting nearly two dozen candidates for the legislature through direct contributions, voter engagement programs, and dozens of endorsements. These electoral victories set us up for a very strong opening of the 2019 session, with the Reproductive Health Act – repealing New York’s pre-Roe criminal abortion ban and enshrining abortion rights into state law — as a top priority for all stakeholders, and a grassroots engagement strategy to expand the pro-choice infrastructure on the ground across the state.

● Candidates across the state at all levels of the ballot campaigned on abortion rights and access as a centerpiece of their platforms.
● The NIRH Action Fund PAC and Committee for a Pro-Choice New York successfully flipped the Senate to a 39-seat pro-choice majority (out of 63).
● Created expectation for passage of RHA early in 2019 session.

The NIRH Action Fund focused on securing the state’s continued status as a national leader on abortion issues by protecting the champions who passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA). By developing winning messages for candidates across the ballot, NIRH-AF, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon Action Fund and other state partners were able to demonstrate that voters support vocal, visible champions of RHEA, which safeguards access to the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion, regardless of a person’s income or immigration status.

● Protected five House members who were vocal supporters of RHEA and ousted two who were vociferous opponents of that bill.
● Elevated reproductive health issues throughout the state, demonstrating voters’ desire that Oregon remain a national leader on reproductive health issues, including abortion access for all who need it.
● Oregon voters defeated a ballot measure that would have gutted RHEA by banning public funds, including Medicaid dollars, from covering abortion-related procedures.


As the first major statewide election following Trump’s 2016 presidential win, the 2017 Virginia elections represented a referendum on Trump’s presidency and an opportunity to reshape representation in Virginia.

NIRH worked with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia to engage in two 2017 special elections, Ralph Northam’s gubernatorial primary, and two House races in the general election.

  • NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia reached 103% of their contact goal in House District 85 and Senate District 22 in the January 2017 Special Elections through a combination of staff and volunteer canvassing, volunteer phone banking, and paid phone banking.
  • NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia was able to contact over 10,500 voters by mail in the general election for Governor and 2 key house races.
  • With our funding, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia also organized 5,000 paid “Make a Plan to Vote” calls into each HD51 and HD93 in support of Hala Ayala and Delegate Mike Mullin.

Pro-choice voters saw sweeping victories across all of these races in 2017, with Ralph Northam winning the governorship and making unprecedented gains in the House of Delegates.


During this crucial presidential election year, the NIRH Action Fund found opportunities where few other political players were involved, focusing on areas in Ohio with projected low voter turnout, and races in Virginia that were critical, but not getting much attention.

Ohio has been a lead swing state in presidential elections, having chosen the winning candidate in every election since 1960. With concerns about voter turnout in heavily pro-choice areas in the 2016 presidential election, NIRH Action Fund partnered with NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio to encourage early voting. Challenging the conventional wisdom that digital engagement is not effective in driving a Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign, we ran a digital campaign targeting registered Democratic women, 25-50, with Pandora radio ads, Facebook ads, and display ads contrasting the positions of Secretary Clinton and Trump. The digital campaign was layered with phone calls that used a message-tested script.

In total, the online ad campaign generated 4,764,076 impressions resulting in 3,884 clicks through to our website to look up polling locations and receive additional information about pro-choice candidates on the ballot, and 6,163 messages were delivered directly to voters. This project informed targeted voters across Ohio and built up the electoral capacity of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.

The NIRH Action Fund worked with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia in 2016 on races, Levar Stoney for Richmond City Mayor and Mike Mullin for State House District 93 – both of whom were ultimately successful! Using proven and tested messages, NIRH helped design campaign literature and phone scripts emphasizing the reproductive health and rights credentials of endorsed candidates, and using the narrative of anti-abortion restrictions to cast their opponents as dangerous for Virginia. With our help, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia:

  • Contacted over 8,500 voters
  • Knocked over 2,200 doors.
  • Printed and distributed 2,000 pieces of literature.
  • Completed over 6,300 phone calls to pro-choice voters.


During this extremely off-year election, we tested a new strategy to build a multi-layered voter education campaign and GOTV campaign.

Collaborating with Progress Virginia and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, we tested whether pro-choice issue-based persuasion and GOTV messaging could mobilize people to vote. Targets in the treatment group received pro-choice issue-based messages through our 2015 mail, canvass, and digital persuasion and Get Out The Vote (GOTV) program. Targets in the control group received no contact. Our persuasion and GOTV program successfully increased turnout. Individuals that received the program were 1 pp more likely to vote than individuals who received no contact. Voters with lower turnout scores, African Americans, and men were particularly responsive to the program.