Senators-elect Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff Solidify Reproductive Rights Majority in Congress
For Immediate Release: Jan. 7, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC — This week, while the country faced one of the darkest days in recent memory, voters in Georgia made history by electing Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the U.S. Senate — two principled public servants and unwavering champions for health care. Their elections — which were called the same day white supremacists stormed capitol buildings in Washington, DC, Atlanta, and more — fundamentally alter the political landscape for President-elect Biden’s administration, and offer hope that we have leaders who believe in and will work toward a better future for all.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“As we continue to reckon with the appalling attacks on our democracy, our movement also has historic reasons to be optimistic. Congratulations to Senators-elect Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, who have been unabashed champions for justice and sexual and reproductive health care throughout their careers and their campaigns. The people of Georgia — a state that passed one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country — just elected two health care champions to represent them, and delivered control of the United States Senate to leaders who will protect and expand reproductive health and rights. Decades of relentless on-the-ground organizing and voter registration efforts by Black, Latino, and APIA leaders led to record turnout among voters who secured this victory to make their voices heard.
“Given the events of the last 24 hours — and the last four years — we at Planned Parenthood Action Fund look forward to working with Georgia’s two new senators, Congress, and President Biden and Vice President Harris to restore decency, accountability, justice, and compassion to the federal government. With the newly chosen pro-reproductive rights majority in Congress, we will work to protect and boldly expand sexual and reproductive health care and rights for all people in the U.S. and across the globe. We know there can be no true freedom without bodily autonomy, and we will be ready on January 21 to stand together and claim our power.”
Statement from Staci Fox, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates:
“On what should have been a joyous day for Georgia and our country, we witnessed an outright attack on our democracy at the hands of domestic terrorists and white supremacists. But not even a violent mob will distract us from this victory and the work that lies ahead. Georgia elected its first Black senator, who is also an unapologetic “pro-choice” pastor and former sexual health educator. We also elected a Jewish son of an immigrant, who is also a vocal advocate for reproductive health and the spouse of an OB-GYN. Reproductive rights were on the ballot and Georgians made their position clear. The Southeast has been underestimated time and time again, but this win proves what long-term investment in voters — in people — can accomplish. This victory may feel like a moment in time, but in reality, it was years in the making. We just delivered two progressive leaders to Washington and we’re not done yet.”
For years, Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff have served as vocal advocates for reproductive justice. They’ve fought for Medicaid expansion, and spoken out against Georgia’s shameful abortion ban. They have vowed to protect access to safe, legal abortion, expand access to health care for all Georgians. This unprecedented election, energized in part by the public outrage to a harmful abortion ban state lawmakers passed in 2019, shows that Georgians want leaders in office who will unequivocally protect their access to health care and reproductive freedom.
Planned Parenthood Votes supported the campaigns of Planned Parenthood Action Fund-endorsed Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff by executing a seven-figure program that included canvassing, phone banking, texting, and digital advertising to help channel voters’ energy and activism into victories at the ballot box. Throughout both the general election and the runoff race, the Planned Parenthood Votes program distributed 617k pieces of mail to Georgia voters, as well as sent over 1.3 million text messages to voters and made over 72k phone calls. The Planned Parenthood Votes’ program knocked on over 62k doors and reached over 1.2 million Georgia voters on digital platforms. The investments in Georgia were a part of Planned Parenthood Votes’ largest-ever electoral program, which helped send Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House, and secure reproductive rights majorities in Congress.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is committed to working to implement bold rules and policies that move us forward, expand health care, and strengthen our democracy. We must seize this historic moment by ending the Hyde and Helms Amendments once and for all, reclaiming the federal judiciary, rebuilding and strengthening the Title X program, and so much more. President-elect Biden’s work has already begun as he selects sexual and reproductive health champions, such as California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for executive positions. That work must continue and accelerate when President-elect Biden takes office, including with a Day One executive order to end the global gag rule and unnecessary restrictions on medication abortion and begin a roll back of harmful restrictions, including those on birth control. Congress must get to work as well, passing a COVID-19 relief package that prioritizes the needs of women and families, and protects safety net providers like Planned Parenthood health centers, and addresses the health and economic crises in the U.S. and around the world.
In 2019, Georgia passed its six-week abortion ban with just one vote to spare. This was part of a cascade of 25 bans passed across the country, which energized voters in support of elected leaders who would protect their health and rights. Americans were clear about where they stood even before this election: Nearly nine in 10 women in this country will use birth control in their lifetimes; 77% of Americans don’t want to see Roe v. Wade overturned; 70% of Americans favor ending the global gag rule; and a majority of young people — across political parties — support federal funding for abortions, now prohibited by the Hyde Amendment.
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.