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Washington, DC — Planned Parenthood Federation of America strongly condemns today’s confirmation of  yet another extreme Trump nominee, Matthew W. McFarland, to a lifetime appointment on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. 

McFarland has proven himself an unabashed opponent of reproductive rights. He was a member of his county’s Right to Life organization in Ohio, as well as a member of the conservative, anti-abortion Federalist Society. His association with extreme anti-abortion groups, combined with his support of several anti-abortion politicians, leaves no doubt McFarland will be a direct threat to reproductive rights and access to health care. This adds to more than 170 such extremist judges Trump has appointed to the federal bench. 

Statement from Anisha Singh, Director, Judiciary and Democracy Affairs, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“In light of the abortion bans sweeping the country, our judges are the protectors of people’s health and rights and should not play political games with people’s lives. Federal judges have a responsibility to uphold legal precedents, including protecting access to safe, legal abortion — but McFarland’s record proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he will be unable to fulfill his duty to be an impartial arbiter of justice.

The Trump administration and Senate Republican leadership are using the judicial system as a political tool — filling lifetime appointments with unfit and unqualified people whose records demonstrate they will not protect individuals against the government’s attacks on our health and rights. 

During 2019 state legislative sessions, more than 300 bills restricting abortion were filed in 47 states. Nearly half of those restrictions — including those in Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, and Louisiana — effectively ban abortions before most people even know they are pregnant. In the cases of these newly passed bans, and should any of the additional bills become law, it is likely that the federal courts will be called upon to decide the fate of people’s health and lives in these states.

A record-high 77 percent of Americans — including a majority of Democrats, independents, and Republicans — support access to abortion and do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.

Additional background on McFarland: 

  • In his initial Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire, McFarland disclosed that he was a member of the Scioto County Right to Life organization in Ohio in 1997. However, an article from 2004 states McFarland included that “he’s an avid Second Amendment supporter and a member of his county’s Right to Life group” in his 2004 campaign literature. McFarland later amended his questionnaire to disclose that he was a Right to Life member from approximately 1997 to 2004. 

  • McFarland volunteered for the campaign of Betty Montgomery to be attorney general of Ohio. Montgomery “helped write and successfully defend” Ohio’s so-called “partial birth abortion ban.” 

  • McFarland has donated to anti-abortion politicians including Mike DeWine.

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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.