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Planned Parenthood Action Fund honors 53rd anniversary of Voting Rights Act by fighting to stop Kavanaugh nomination

New York, NY — Today marks the 53rd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Enacted a year after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the VRA sought to prohibit racial discrimination in the electoral process. However, recent Supreme Court decisions have emptied the VRA of its promise. In 2013, for example, the Supreme Court gutted the VRA in Shelby County v. Holder, leaving many historically marginalized communities, including people of color, out of the electoral process. And just this past June, the Supreme Court ruled to allow Ohio to revoke the voter registration of eligible voters simply because they were unable or chose not to vote in the past six years.

If the Senate were to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, it could swing the balance of the court even further against the right to vote. In fact, in 2012 Kavanaugh wrote an opinion upholding a South Carolina law that would require voters to show a photo ID before casting their ballots — a law that had the effect of disenfranchising thousands of voters of color. He ruled that the measure was not discriminatory, even though the Obama administration claimed it violated the Voting Rights Act. 

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

Voting is one of the most powerful tools we have to fight back against oppressive and dangerous policies that control our bodies, health, and lives. The Supreme Court holds enormous power in determining who is able to access their right to vote.

"Brett Kavanaugh has made it clear that if he were appointed to the court, he would threaten our right to access safe, legal abortion, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, and voting rights. To put it plainly, he would block people, particularly those who are the most marginalized, from accessing their fundamental rights and take away perhaps the best tool they have to fight back against these attacks — voting.

“At Planned Parenthood Action Fund, we know that the ability to preserve and expand access to reproductive health care and basic rights for all communities rests on our ability to vote. We firmly believe that when it comes to elections, we should be removing barriers to voting, not creating them.

The recent Supreme Court ruling that allowed Ohio to push its citizens off the voter rolls is just one action in a larger effort to hinder turnout at the polls and disenfranchise people of color, people with low incomes, people with disabilities, and young people. Last year, for example, instead of working to strengthen the Voting Rights Act and end the strategic suppression of people of color’s right to vote, President Trump created a commission to investigate his widely disproven and racist claims of voter fraud in an attempt to further suppress the vote and undermine the integrity of U.S. elections. Many condemned this attempt by the Trump administration to disenfranchise Americans, and the deeply unpopular commission was disbanded.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund continues to join voting rights advocates in condemning voter suppression and standing against the discriminatory tactics — like implementing voter ID laws and limiting early voting — that are systematically used to target communities of color, people with low incomes, people with disabilities, and young people.

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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.

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