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Planned Parenthood calls on the full Senate to reject Neomi Rao’s nomination

Nearly one in five judges with federal lifetime seats have been appointed by Trump

WASHINGTON — Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted Trump’s extreme nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Neomi Rao, out of committee in a party line vote. Rao reviewed and approved many of the Trump-Pence administration’s efforts to take away access to reproductive health care — including the recent approval of a domestic gag rule and efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit. In addition, Rao made offensive comments regarding sexual assault survivors while in college that she failed to adequately defend during her Senate confirmation hearing.

Statement from Dana Singiser, Senior Vice President for Policy, Campaigns and Advocacy, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

Neomi Rao has defined her career as someone who helped the Trump-Pence administration enact policies that limit access to reproductive health care, including birth control. She also made grossly offensive comments blaming survivors of sexual assault. Neomi Rao has proven she cannot be a fair-minded judge and is unfit to serve on the D.C. Circuit. Voters made clear in November that they want their elected officials to protect their rights and access to health care. Senators should heed their constituents’ desires and oppose Rao’s confirmation.

The D.C. Circuit has reviewed several cases challenging the current administration’s harmful policies, including a policy denying immigrant, minor detainees access to abortion, the transgender military ban, and a case brought by Planned Parenthood challenging a 2018 attempt to fundamentally alter and distort the Title X program.  In addition, four current Supreme Court justices have served on the D.C. Circuit prior to their elevation to the Supreme Court — including Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Rao will have a confirmation vote in the coming weeks.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced the confirmation of so many of Trump’s extreme nominees that now nearly one in five judges in lifetime federal seats are Trump appointees and many of them hold anti-reproductive health records.


While working in the Trump-Pence administration, Neomi Rao supported overarching attacks on reproductive health.

  • Under Rao’s leadership, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed and approved the domestic gag rule that would gag doctors, block care at Planned Parenthood, and dismantle Title X — the nation’s program focused on affordable birth control and reproductive health care, serving four million people.

  • Rao attempted to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s birth control requirement, and a federal court struck down her attempt. The requirement ensures that all insurance plans must cover birth control without a co-pay or otherwise ensure access to birth control coverage for women whose employers or schools can legally opt out of providing coverage.

Neomi Rao has record of blaming survivors of sexual assault.

  • Rao wrote several offensive articles while attending Yale University in the 1990s blaming survivors of sexual assault for not taking responsibility and avoiding assault by staying sober.

  • Rao also stalled bipartisan guidelines from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to address sexual harassment in the workplace. By refusing to consider these guidelines, Rao solidified her stance against protecting women from sexual harassment in the workplace.  


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, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.


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