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Planned Parenthood Opposes Senate Action to Vote on Wendy Vitter’s Nomination for Lifetime Judicial Seat

WASHINGTON – At the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s request, the Senate has invoked cloture on the nomination of Wendy Vitter, allowing her nominate to proceed. Planned Parenthood Federation of America strongly opposes Vitter — who is widely considered to be unfit to judge — to a lifetime appointment on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. In addition to holding extreme and harmful views on reproductive health care, Vitter has withheld information from the Senate Judiciary Committee about her anti-abortion record, publicly misrepresented her background in a confirmation hearing, and refused to state whether either of the landmark cases Brown v. Board of Education or Roe v. Wade were correctly decided. The Senate will hold a final vote on Thursday, May 16, 2019.

Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

Wendy Vitter simply should not serve as a federal judge. Not only does she oppose safe, legal abortion—she tried to hide her extreme views—withholding 95 pages of information from the Senate in an apparent effort to disguise her views. At a time when anti-women’s health politicians are pursuing the most extreme and dangerous policies of a generation, the American people deserve judges who will defend their health and rights, not uphold dangerous and extreme bans that would endanger women’s lives.

In the questionnaire Vitter submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, she omitted multiple activities — including anti-abortion panels, speeches, and rallies — in an apparent effort to disguise her extreme views and political biases. In the past, some judicial nominees who’ve omitted information have had their nominations blocked by senators. One of the activities Vitter omitted was how she moderated an anti-abortion panel, where she promoted the baseless claim that women who take contraceptive pills are more likely to die violent deaths. Vitter also encouraged panelists to discuss scientifically baseless theories and push anti-abortion propaganda.

More than 70 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 attempting to remake an entire branch of government by filling lifetime judicial appointments with unfit, ideologically driven people as part of its agenda to restrict women’s health and rights — all while disregarding centuries-long process. President Trump has appointed over 100 judges to the federal bench with 11 percent of the federal judiciary now appointed by this administration. During 2019 state legislative sessions, more than 290 bills restricting abortion have been filed in 45 states. Nearly half of those restrictions are abortion bans, including those in Kentucky, Ohio, and Georgia. Should any of this legislation 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.

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