St. Paul, MN— A mob of white supremacists, militants and far-right groups violently stormed the Capitol this week, just hours after reproductive rights champions gained a majority in the U.S. Senate with the election of Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. As we look to the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-president elect Kamala Harris, we are aware that democracy experts are warning of more potential violence in the next two weeks. The events of this week are a stark reminder of the need to vigilantly protect our democracy and mend our country moving forward.
Below is a statement from Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States:
"This week brings very mixed emotions about the state of our country. U.S. Senator-elect Rev. Raphael Warnock will make history as the first Black senator from Georgia, the second Black senator elected from a southern state, and the eleventh Black senator in the chamber’s history. He is a civil rights leader, former sexual health educator, and self-proclaimed “pro-choice pastor,” who has been unapologetic in his support for sexual and reproductive health care throughout his campaign. Even when anti-abortion faith leaders called for him to change his stance in an open letter, he doubled down on his support.
Another important milestone, Jon Ossoff won his race to be the first Jewish U.S. Senator from Georgia. His success underscores that bigotry has no place in our values, and that supporting reproductive freedom is a winning issue; his wife is an OB-GYN and abortion provider.
But on Wednesday, we also watched a violent assault on our country and democracy. Militants, white supremacists, and far-right groups stormed our nation’s capital to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power to our next president.
It was lost on no one that a peaceful BLM protest a few months ago in our nation’s capital ended with tear gas and rubber bullets, while white extremists were permitted to storm into our U.S. Capitol building, threatening to stop the election from being finalized, attempting to topple our Congress, and resulting in the loss of four lives. Every person who permitted, participated in, and instigated this assault on democracy must be held accountable. The ugly side of who we are as a people is on full display, and we cannot ignore this truth.
Still, there is hope as we look to the inauguration of a new president and a new Senate majority. Across the country, we will work to make our communities better, safer, healthier places for all. And we will also do everything we can to bridge the divide in our wounded nation. We can have great hope and great grief at the same time, and our vision of what is possible and what is necessary will carry us through."
Planned Parenthood North Central States and its subsidiary organizations provide, promote, and protect reproductive and sexual health through high-quality care, education and advocacy. A member of America’s most trusted reproductive health care provider, our affiliate is proud to support and operate 29 health centers across our five-state region (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota). Each year, we provide health care to nearly 115,000 people and health education to more than 99,000 people in our region.