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Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Demand Justice, NARAL, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and National Women’s Law Center Introduce a Higher Standard For Supreme Court Nominees, Because Saying They Will “Uphold Precedent” Is No Longer An Acceptable Answer

Washington, D.C. — Today, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, along with Demand Justice, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and National Women’s Law Center, announcedthat they are calling for the Senate to judge any Trump nominee to the Supreme Court by the Personal Liberty Standard: That is, the Senate must only confirm a justice who affirmatively declares that they believe the U.S. Constitution protects individual liberty and the right of all people to make personal decisions about their bodies and personal relationships — including the right to use contraception, the right to have an abortion, and the freedom to marry whom they choose.

This comes after President Trump promised to appoint only biased justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade and strike down the Affordable Care Act. Trump has made it clear that the only justices he will put forward are nominees who would “automatically” overturn Roe v. Wade, creating a world where abortion is illegal and health care is inaccessible. By demanding that all nominees affirm the personal liberty standard, the next Supreme Court justice will ensure that the right to safe, legal abortion is protected.

During past Senate hearings, nominees have answered questions about Roe v. Wade by saying they will “respect precedent,” but then went on to rule in ways that ignored precedent and would’ve eviscerated our fundamental rights had those justices been in the majority. With the balance of the court at stake, and with Trump making clear his ideological standard, simply referencing precedent or sidestepping questions on abortion and fundamental rights is no longer an option.

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

Just vaguely referencing ‘precedent’ can no longer be an acceptable answer or standard by which senators can accurately judge. That’s why, today, Planned Parenthood and our colleagues are calling for a higher standard. If nominees cannot meet this standard, then they cannot be trusted to protect a woman’s right to choose. They cannot be trusted to protect our fundamental rights, from access to birth control and abortion to freedoms for LGBTQ people.

Statement from Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO, National Women’s Law Center:

 We must take Trump at his word, and every senator should too. The burden is on his nominee to prove that he or she is not as Trump has promised. Women’s dignity, health, and even lives are on the line.

Statement from Ilyse Hogue, President, NARAL Pro-Choice America:

The Trump-Pence administration's intent is not subtle. It’s not a mystery. It’s obvious: to turn back the clock, criminalize abortion, and punish women severely. We believe their words and their actions.

Statement from Jaclyn Dean, Public Policy Associate, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF):

The candidates on Trump’s list not only pose a threat to Roe v. Wade and the ACA, they also have records of undermining immigrant rights, voting rights, and other civil rights — issues that for women of color are critical to ensuring access to reproductive health and rights.

Statement from Brian Fallon, Executive Director, Demand Justice:

Because of President's Trump's litmus test, this nominee will face a higher burden than any past nominee. He or she already starts off having three strikes against them because of the positions Trump has already ascribed to them. Therefore, this nominee won’t have the luxury of trying to skate through these hearings without answering questions.

In conjunction with today’s announcement, Planned Parenthood Action Fund will be launching a campaign in all 50 states — from town halls to phone calls to rallies to advertisements — demanding that any nominee be held to this higher standard or not be confirmed at all. Supporters are expected to have made 100,000 calls into Senate offices already by the end of this week, expressing concern over potential Supreme Court nominees.

 

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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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