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New York, NY — Today marks the 54th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Enacted a year after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the VRA sought to prohibit racial discrimination in the electoral process. However, recent Supreme Court decisions have emptied the VRA of its promise. 

In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted the VRA in Shelby County v. Holder, leaving many historically marginalized communities, including people of color, out of the electoral process. And just last June, the Supreme Court ruled to allow Ohio to revoke the voter registration of eligible voters simply because they were unable or chose not to vote in the past six years.

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

Voting is one of the most powerful tools we have to fight back against oppressive and dangerous policies that control our bodies, health, and lives. At a time when our freedom and our rights — including our ability to access to safe, legal abortion — hang in the balance, making sure everyone is able to vote has never been more important. 

People of color, LGBTQ folks, people with low incomes, and people with disabilities already face relentless and often violent attacks on their health care and their lives. Rampant voter suppression and the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act have made it nearly impossible for their voices to be heard. This is not a coincidence — those who are kept quiet cannot demand their freedom. 

At Planned Parenthood Action Fund, we know our basic rights and reproductive freedom rest on our ability to vote. That’s why we are committed to working to protect voting rights and mobilizing our members through 2020 and beyond.

Marginalized groups encounter barriers to voting that restrict their agency, including voter ID laws and limited early voting. These barriers are systematically used to target the same people who would be most affected by anti-abortion laws and attacks on sexual and reproductive health care — communities of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, people with low incomes, people with disabilities, and young people. When able to vote, marginalized communities have the power to swing elections and vote for candidates who will protect their rights and freedoms. Women of color, for example, have historically voted for champions of sexual and reproductive health and rights. 

Planned Parenthood Action Fund continues to join voting rights advocates in condemning voter suppression and standing against these discriminatory tactics.

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

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