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Boggs’ Testimony Raises Troubling Concerns about Nomination for Lifetime Appointment to U.S. District Court

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 05.13.14

Planned Parenthood Action Fund Urges Judiciary Committee to 
Take Deeper Look at Boggs’ Record

WASHINGTON, DC — Planned Parenthood Action Fund has issued the following statement urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to take a deeper look at the record and positions of Michael Boggs, a nominee for U.S. District Court, whose testimony today raises troubling concerns and questions about his credibility and record when he served in the Georgia General Assembly.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this morning, Boggs fielded questions about votes he took while serving in the Georgia General Assembly from 2001 – 2004 to ban same-sex marriage saying on the House floor that “we seldom have opportunities to stand up for things that are common sense, things that stand up for Christian values and in this instance in particular to support the sanctity of marriage.” He voted to keep the Confederate insignia on the state flag, and supported legislation designed to shame and judge women, endanger the health and safety of doctors providing constitutionally protected care, and chip away at access to safe and legal abortion.

At the hearing, several senators expressed concern when Boggs said he was not aware of the public safety implications associated with his vote in favor of the Patient’s Right to Know bill that would have required doctors who performed abortions to post their names publicly on the Internet as well as the number of times they performed the procedure in the last 10 years.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“As the leading women’s health care advocate, we see the critical role that courts play in protecting and upholding a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, including privacy when she is considering safe and legal abortion. All nominees to the federal bench should be closely scrutinized to determine if they will take a fair-minded approach to the issues that come before them.

“Boggs’ testimony today was troubling and raised concerns about his credibility. It is for this very reason that we oppose his nomination for a lifetime appointment to U.S. District Court and urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to look further into his record, including the positions he took while serving in the Georgia General Assembly in contrast to the positions he took today. 

“While in the Georgia General Assembly, Boggs’ took votes that would have turned back the clock on women’s access to safe and legal abortion and birth control and endangered doctors. Boggs also co-sponsored legislation that would have directed funds to organizations intent on shaming and judging women facing deeply personal and often complex decisions about their pregnancies. It is our opinion that Boggs’ personal views on abortion would interfere with his ability to follow Supreme Court precedent and the Constitution.

“We thank Senator Richard Blumenthal and the Senate Judiciary Committee for providing a fair process today and taking into consideration a growing list of concerns from a variety of organizations, spanning women’s health, civil rights, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality, about the Boggs nomination.”

In February, Planned Parenthood, alongside nearly 30 organizations, signed onto a letter opposing the Boggs nomination.

The letter reads, in part:

“During his time as a legislator in the Georgia General Assembly, Boggs demonstrated a troubling lack of concern for individuals whose experience and personal history differ from his own, creating a record that lacks a demonstrated commitment to fairness and equal justice with respect to issues of reproductive freedom, civil rights, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality.”

Background:

  • In 2001, Boggs voted for an amendment requiring Internet profiles of all abortion providers. These medically unnecessary requirements have been known to make abortion doctors a target, opening them up to harassment. “The Democratic leader of the state House at the time warned that the effects of such a measure could put physicians at risk,” reports NARAL.
  • In 2002, Boggs voted in favor of creating a committee — not of medical experts or doctors — but of leading opponents of safe and legal abortion including the executive director of Georgia Right to Life to “study” the so-called effects of “post-abortion stress syndrome.” Such “syndromes” do not exist and have been scientifically discredited by multiple medical and scientific organizations, including the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association. In fact, The American Psychological Association's Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion has stated that there is "no evidence that having a single abortion causes mental health problems."
  • While still serving in the state legislature in 2003, Boggs voted — not once, but twice — in favor of extreme and dangerous so called “personhood” efforts. By redefining “person” in state law to include fertilized eggs, so-called “personhood” efforts could interfere with personal, private medical decisions relating to decisions about birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and access to safe and legal abortion if enacted. These bills described children as “born and unborn” which creates a legal framework for personhood.
  • Boggs also co-sponsored the creation of a “Choose Life” license plate program that, if enacted, would have directed funds to anti-women’s health organizations, including crisis pregnancy centers, which provide biased and often completely false information to women seeking health care information about their pregnancy options. In fact, these bills actually stated that funds “may not be distributed to any agency that is involved or associated with abortion activities, including counseling for or referrals to abortion clinics, providing medical abortion-related procedures, or pro-abortion advertising.”

 

 

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.