Senate Confirms Judicial Nominee Who Doesn’t Believe Survivors of Sexual Assault
For Immediate Release: March 13, 2019 (Updated: March 13, 2019, 1 p.m.)
Rao has demonstrated that she will work to take away reproductive rights
One in 10 judges in lifetime seats are now Trump appointees
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Trump’s extreme nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Neomi Rao. 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 Dr. Leana Wen, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
Neomi Rao has proven she does not stand for the American people. Her actions with the Trump-Pence administration have continued her pattern of systematically attacking people’s health care and rights. Rao has proven that she does not possess the qualities that we expect of our judges - to be fair, unbiased, and equitable. Her dangerous beliefs could put millions of lives at risk for decades to come. The Senate must do better to represent their constituents. We need to be able to trust that the people we elected into office will represent our values. We will continue working to protect our health and rights, and the health and rights of our children and generations to come.
BACKGROUND ON NEOMI RAO:
While working in the Trump-Pence administration, Neomi Rao supported numerous 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. The medical community, lawmakers, public health experts, and the general public are against this rule. The gag rule is opposed by major medical associations, like the American Medical Association, theAmerican College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, as well as 110 public health organizations, and public health experts.
- In her role at OIRA, 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 opt out of providing coverage.
Neomi Rao has record of blaming survivors of sexual assault.
- Rao wrote several offensive articles blaming survivors of sexual assault for not taking responsibility and avoiding assault by staying sober.
- While OIRA director, Rao 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 employees from sexual harassment in the workplace.
The D.C. Circuit is considered a powerful and important court because it reviews many cases challenging federal government actions and decisions. 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 many of Trump’s extreme nominees that now, nearly one in ten judges in lifetime federal seats are Trump appointees and many of them hold anti-reproductive health records.
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.