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Barr’s opposition to Roe v. Wade and the right to access safe, legal abortion makes him unfit to defend the rights of all people

WASHINGTON — Tomorrow, President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Attorney General, William Barr, will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee for the first day of his confirmation hearings. Planned Parenthood opposes Barr’s nomination due to his staunch anti-abortion beliefs and opposition to the Affordable Care Act. In 1991, during  Barr’s confirmation hearings for attorney general in the Bush administration, he expressed that the right to privacy does not extend to abortion. He stated he opposes Roe v. Wade and believes it should be overturned. His belief is in sharp contrast to the seventy-two percent of Americans — including a majority of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans — who do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.

Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

As a doctor, I fear that the health and rights of millions of patients across the country will be in jeopardy if William Barr is confirmed to be the Trump-Pence administration’s next attorney general. I have to look at the data, and in his words and actions Barr has proven that he will take away access to health care by blocking access through the Affordable Care Act and restricting the right to safe, legal abortion. This is about people’s lives— in 2019 women’s access to standard medical care should not be up for debate.

Statement from Dana Singiser, Senior Vice President for Policy, Campaigns and Advocacy, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

If confirmed, Barr will be an active threat to the very rights and freedoms that he is tasked to protect. Planned Parenthood opposes the nomination of William Barr and calls on the Senate to reject his confirmation. We need an attorney general who will uphold the Constitution and defend the American people’s rights, including the constitutional right to access safe, legal abortion.

William Barr cannot be trusted to enforce our nation's law. When he served as attorney general under George H.W. Bush, Barr:

  • Stated under oath, “I do not believe the right to privacy extends to right to abortion..I believe that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overruled.”
  • Sent a letter to the Senate opposing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), the legislation that would have enshrined Roe into law
  • Used the rhetoric of the anti-abortion movement, like “abortion on demand,” in letters to members of Congress

The attorney general, and the Department of Justice, is charged with enforcing our nation’s laws, including Roe v. Wade and the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which helps protect women accessing reproductive health care. Additionally, if an abortion case comes before the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court could ask the U.S. Attorney General for the federal government’s opinion. Barr has already stated that he believes Roe v. Wade “does not have any constitutional underpinnings” and “the Roe opinion will fall.”


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


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