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New York, NY — After today’s hearing for Steven Menashi, President Trump’s nominee for a seat on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Planned Parenthood released the following statement in strong opposition to his nomination. Appointed as part of the immigration working group to advance the administration’s racist immigration policies, including banning Muslims and separating immigrant children from their parents, Menashi has written that it is beneficial for countries to “privilege the immigration and citizenship of particular ethnic groups.” He has argued against the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage policy, has opposed access to emergency contraception for college students, and has referred to abortion rights as “radical” and closely associated himself with anti-abortion group, the Federalist Society. As Betsy DeVos’ right hand man, he helped roll back Title IX protections. He currently serves as associate counsel to President Trump and is a former top lawyer at the Department of Education under Secretary DeVos.

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“Donald Trump has nominated a proud defender of ethnonationalism for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. Someone who thinks certain ethnicities make better citizens than others has no place in our courts. At a time when white supremacy continues to fuel rising acts of violence, it is more important than ever to disavow judicial nominees who view diversity as a threat to American society, rather than a strength. 

“Steven Menashi has supported policies that are overwhelmingly racist, sexist, homophobic, and Islamophobic. Access to sexual and reproductive health care is on the line. People of color, the LGBTQ community, women, and Muslims need someone who will protect their constitutional rights — not someone who has spent his career working against them. We cannot afford to have someone like Menashi sit on our federal courts for a lifetime appointment. We call on the Senate to vote ‘NO’ on Menashi.”

Additional Background on Menashi:

  • Menashi has defended the right of employers to block their employees from receiving birth control coverage guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act. He helped author an amicus brief in Zubik v. Burwell arguing that the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage policy forced certain religious groups into “moral complicity,” comparing paying for insurance to provide contraceptives to serving as an unarmed getaway car driver during a bank robbery.

  • During his time as editor-in-chief of the Dartmouth Review, Menashi authored several anti-abortion and anti-women articles, including pieces that opposed the university’s decision to make emergency contraception available via campus health services; criticized campaigns aimed at supporting survivors of sexual assault and dismissing discrimination against women writ large; and referred to Roe vs. Wade as “radical abortion rights.” He is also a former member of the anti-abortion Federalist Society which funded his fellowship at Georgetown University Law Center. 

  • In his role as acting general counsel of the Department of Education, he helped roll back protections for sexual assault and harassment victims and survivors on college campuses, allowing schools to permit harmful and discriminatory practices of using a survivor’s sexual history against them in questioning and allowing them to be cross-examined by the accused. Menashi has also argued that it is unconstitutional for schools to comply with anti-discrimination protections if such protections “violated the schools asserted religious beliefs or practices.”

  • Menashi has argued that “ethnonationalism” — a belief that nations are defined by a shared ethnicity — is  a “common and accepted” feature of democracies. He further stated that countries should use their immigration laws “to establish a desired demographic balance” and that this is “most crucial for nation-states in which the dominant ethnic group is in danger of losing its majority status.” He also claimed that “ethnically heterogeneous societies exhibit less political and civic engagement, less effective governing institutions, and fewer public goods."

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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.