Statement of Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF), on the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General:
Today, the Senate confirmed abortion opponent Jeff Sessions as Attorney General by a final vote of 52-47. As the organization representing abortion providers and the women who seek their care, we remain deeply concerned that Sessions will not adequately enforce the laws that protect abortion providers and their patients from threats and violence. We pledge to closely monitor the work of the Department of Justice under Sessions’ leadership to ensure that the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act and other laws are fully enforced.
The Attorney General must lead with impartiality. Sessions has a long record of opposing protections for abortion providers, and was endorsed by the anti-abortion extremist group Operation Rescue. In addition to enforcing the FACE Act, the Attorney General oversees the work of the critical National Task Force on Violence Against Health Care Providers, a unique collaboration among federal agencies that, when supported, has resulted in a documented decrease in violent crimes against abortion providers.
NAF has been compiling statistics on incidents of violence and disruption against abortion providers since 1977. In the past 38 years, there have been 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 185 arsons, and thousands of incidents of criminal activities directed at abortion providers. Our 2015 statistics reflect a dramatic increase in hate speech and internet harassment, death threats, attempted murder, and murder. We cannot tolerate a further increase in violence and criminal activity.
The dedicated individuals who risk their lives every day to provide safe abortion care deserve nothing less than an Attorney General who will vigorously enforce the law, and it’s frightening that the nation’s top law enforcement official is not committed to this task.
We thank those Senators who listened to the voices of Americans, including leaders in the civil rights movement, and voted to reject this nomination. We call on the Senators who supported Jeff Sessions to join us in holding him accountable to his promise to enforce the law—the safety of abortion providers and their patients depends on it.
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Alissa Manzoeillo, National Abortion Federation
202.667.5881, ext 219; 202.595.4395 (after hours/cell)
Read written and submitted testimony by Julie Burkhart, Founder and CEO of the Trust Women Foundation, a NAF member providing abortion care in Kansas and Oklahoma with experience being targeted by anti-abortion crime
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers. Our members include individuals, private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals who together care for approximately half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City and private clinics in Colombia. Our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care, which promotes health and justice for women.