Washington, DC — Planned Parenthood announced today its opposition to the confirmation of Sam Brownback as ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom, citing his long and extreme record of opposing women’s health and LGBTQ rights during his time in the Senate and as governor of Kansas. Gov. Brownback appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his confirmation hearing this morning.
The ambassadorship is in charge of promoting religious freedom and sits within the State Department's bureau focused on human rights. In contrast, Brownback has a long history of undermining women’s health and rights in the U.S. and around the world.
“Planned Parenthood opposes Gov. Brownback’s confirmation to be ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom,” said Dana Singiser, vice president of public policy and government affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Some of the most powerful champions of human rights have been faith leaders – Sam Brownback is not one of them. Instead, he has repeatedly twisted religion and the beliefs of people of faith to justify denying people’s health and rights. This is just another in a long line of deeply ironic and anti-women’s health Trump nominations that flies in the face of human rights and U.S. values. I urge committee members to reject this nomination.”
“The last thing we need is an extreme ideologue representing the United States to communities around the world,” said Latanya Mapp Frett, executive director of Planned Parenthood Global. “The United States should be doing all we can to promote freedom and democracy globally, not standing in the way of international progress and development by pushing a narrow view that fails to recognize that human rights are indivisible and must be upheld for all people.”
During his time as governor of Kansas and in the U.S. Senate, Brownback has cited religion to undermine the human rights of women, men, and young people in his home state. At every turn he has used religion as a weapon to ban abortion, attack access to contraception, and deny young people information on comprehensive sex education, risking the lives of the very people he is supposed to represent. Brownback has approved multiple defunding provisions targeting Planned Parenthood: He opposes abortion access even in the case of rape and incest; promotes failed abstinence-only programs; defines life as beginning at fertilization, thereby limiting access to important and lifesaving forms of contraception; and has voted repeatedly for the harmful global gag rule and against UNFPA’s life saving work.
Brownback also has a disturbing record on LGBTQ rights, which includes changing policy in Kansas to make it almost impossible for transgender Kansans to change their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity; removing Kansas state employee nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; and conflating "religious freedom" with a license to discriminate, signing an executive order that gave a blank check to religious organizations to refuse services to same-sex couples