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“Planned Parenthood stands with those who continue to work to expand and protect voting rights for all people.”

New York, NYToday, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, issued the following statement honoring the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and urging Congress to fully restore the Voting Rights Act.

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

“Today, we honor the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a landmark policy 50 years ago that prohibited racial discrimination in voting. A year after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act went several steps further to ensure people discriminated against because of their race had the necessary protection to exercise their constitutional rights. We are grateful for the Civil Rights leaders who pushed our nation to task to ensure people of color – particularly those living in the Jim Crow-era Deep South – were able to vote.

“While we celebrate this achievement, we must acknowledge that 50 years later, Congress has still yet to pass legislation that would correct the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby v. Holder, which gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. We know that the same states that have been actively working to suppress the right to vote are also the same states that are working to erode women’s access to reproductive health care and defund Planned Parenthood. Voter ID laws are just a political smokescreen that actually limits voting rights for people of color, those in rural areas, and low-income people. These new laws seem to be the 21st century version of literacy tests that disenfranchised voters in the past.

“The right to vote is key to advocating for fundamental human rights – including reproductive health care, immigration reform, LGBT rights, and racial justice. Planned Parenthood stands with organizations and lawmakers who not only honor the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but continue to work to expand and protect voting rights for all people. The history of our country shows that we are better off when more people have a voice in our political process – we should be passing laws that make it easier to vote, not harder.”