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WASHINGTON — As a result of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s continued efforts to remake the courts with anti-abortion judges, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on party lines to confirm Lee Rudofsky to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Planned Parenthood Federation of America opposes Rudofsky’s lifetime appointment to the Eastern District of Arkansas and urges the full Senate to reject this nomination.

Rudofsky has demonstrated his opposition to reproductive rights throughout his career, including efforts as Solicitor General of Arkansas to defend a 12-week abortion ban and strip Planned Parenthood health centers of Medicaid funding. He has argued in articles and legal briefs that banning abortion does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment and has even asked the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

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

“In choosing to nominate and confirm Lee Rudofsky, President Trump and Senate Republicans are once again trying to use the courts to enact their extreme anti-abortion agenda. Rudofsky has not only demonstrated his personal opposition to abortion, he has also actively worked to defend abortion bans and take away access to care at Planned Parenthood. As Solicitor General of Arkansas, Lee Rudofsky made clear that he would not protect the health and rights of the people in his state — and Republicans are expecting he’ll do the same as a federal judge. We call on the full Senate to reject his nomination and only approve judges who can fulfill their duties to faithfully protect our constitutional rights.”

Seventy-seven 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. Yet the Trump-Pence administration and Senate leadership are using the judicial system as a political tool — filling lifetime appointments with unfit and unqualified people whose records suggest they will not protect individuals against the administration’s attacks on our health and rights. President Trump has appointed more than 150 judges to the federal bench, with over 15 percent of the federal judiciary now appointed by this administration. During 2019 state legislative sessions, more than 300 bills restricting abortion have been filed in 47 states. Nearly half of those restrictions are abortion bans, including those in Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, and Louisiana, which effectively ban abortions even before most women know they are pregnant. In the cases of these newly enacted 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.

Additional background on Rudofsky: 

  • Led Arkansas as Solicitor General to prevent Medicaid patients from accessing birth control and other preventive care at Planned Parenthood, despite the state’s lack of adequate options.

  • As Solicitor General of Arkansas, Rudofsky defended the state’s 12-week abortion ban passed in 2013. Rudofsky petitioned the Supreme Court, arguing that the Court should revisit and overrule Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. 

  • As Solicitor General of Arkansas, Rudofsky supported Texas in its effort to impose burdensome, unconstitutional targeted regulation of abortion provider (“TRAP”) laws and defended Arkansas’ own TRAP law involving medication abortion in Planned Parenthood of Arkansas & Eastern Oklahoma v. Jegley.

  • When Planned Parenthood petitioned for the Supreme Court to take up the case, Rudofsky wrote Arkansas’ brief in opposition. He argued erroneously that medication abortions are dangerous treatments and that denying patients access to a safe, effective non-surgical abortion was not an undue burden.

  • Rudofsky worked on an article for the Arkansas Attorney General defending a pharmacy owner’s decision to deny patients contraceptives. 

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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.