Planned Parenthood Delivers 100,000 Petitions to Senate Judiciary Committee Affirming Support for Roe v. Wade
Activists Hit Farmers' Markets, Backyard Barbecues, to Gather Thousands of Signatures in Support of Reproductive Rights
Washington, DC — In a groundswell of grassroots fervor, Planned Parenthood activists and supporters announced today they have taken their online activism to the streets, fanning out across the country over the past six weeks to gather more than 100,000 signatures in support of reproductive rights. The petition urges the Senate Judiciary Committee to thoroughly question U.S. Supreme Court nominees about their views on constitutional protections for women's health and safety and Americans' privacy rights.
"The hundred thousand thoughtful people, ordinary citizens and celebrities alike, who have signed these petitions reflect the critical importance of the Supreme Court," said Karen Pearl, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) interim president. "People know the profound impact the court has on our lives. Those who signed these petitions represent Americans of all ages, from all backgrounds and walks of life. The 80-year-old woman who took the petition to a farmers' market to gather signatures knows what it was like to live in a world without Roe, and like many others, she refuses to go back to a time when women were unable to make their own childbearing choices."
The death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist over Labor Day weekend raised the stakes for supporters of reproductive rights. President Bush announced that John Roberts, who was facing confirmation hearings to fill the seat vacated by retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, would now be nominated for the position of chief justice.
For weeks, Planned Parenthood supporters have watched with growing alarm as Roberts' record has revealed a man who questions the fundamental right to privacy and is often hostile to women's rights in general. Given Roberts' disturbing paper trail, the petitioners believe it is vitally important that he be clear during the hearings that he will protect, not take back, constitutional protections for our rights to privacy. He must also make clear his view of the right of Americans to be free of government regulations that endanger women's health and safety.
"Now with two vacancies on the nation's highest court, it's no surprise that so many people have signed our petition," Pearl added. "The pro-choice majority in this country wants Supreme Court justices who believe that the government should not stand in the way of access to reproductive health care. Lifetime appointments to the nation's highest court must be filled by justices who support the right of all people to make their own reproductive choices and who believe in Americans' constitutional right to privacy. It is the Senate's duty to the more than 100,000 people who signed our petition to determine if Roberts will protect the rights and freedoms that are the very fabric of American life."