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Washington, D.C. — Today, after a partisan vote blocking the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act — which would lead to significant progress for voting rights —Senate Republicans, joined by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) also blocked efforts to advance a procedural rule change that would have allowed this critical legislation to pass with a simple Senate majority. Both efforts were blocked despite widespread support for voting rights legislation, and just days after the nation celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“Today, the U.S. Senate allowed its refusal to change arcane procedural rules to deny Americans their fundamental rights. It is unconscionable that all Senate Republicans, joined by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, continue to block voting rights legislation as state legislators across the nation put up obstacle after obstacle to the ballot box. Every senator, regardless of political party, has a responsibility to protect our freedom to vote. Their inaction disproportionately impacts millions of people — predominantly in Black and Latino communities — and emboldens people in power who want to control our lives, our bodies, and our futures. These barriers to voting, rooted in white supremacy, have resulted in the denial of equitable health care access, racial justice, LGBTQ+ equality, and reproductive freedom — including abortion access. We thank the 48 senators who voted to change the rules and do whatever it takes to pass crucial legislation — their fight continues. This is a dark day for our country, and a stain on the legacies of every senator who didn’t step up in this moment.” 

State politicians continue to wage relentless attacks on basic rights and freedoms. Last year, more than 500 bills that create barriers to voting were introduced. Also, in 2021, more than 100 abortion restrictions were signed into law at the state level – the most since Roe v. Wade. It is Congress’s responsibility to do whatever it takes to pass short- and long-term structural democracy reform measures to address these restrictions and strengthen our democratic system. That includes passing the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, which would help to ensure all people have equal access to the ballot box. 


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