Women’s Issues: Planned Parenthood Is Fighting Voter Suppression

In an effort to fight voter suppression in the US, Planned Parenthood will be registering voters at its clinics and college campuses under “My Vote, My Voice” campaign.

The not-for-profit organization states that this campaign aims to encourage more people to engage with politics. “Our purpose is to engage historically disenfranchised communities,” said the Planned Parenthood manager of youth organizing, Erin Carhart.

“Planned Parenthood health centers see 2.5 million patients annually,” the organization announces. “Many of these people are young voters, people of colour, or people with low-incomes—the same communities that historically have been disenfranchised and continue to face unnecessary hurdles and discriminatory voter suppression laws when trying to vote.”

The campaign was launched on August 6, tied on to the 51st anniversary of the Voting Rights Act― a 1965 law that forbids racial discrimination in voting.

The organization has previously spoken out against the gutting of Section 4 of the Act in 2013 by the Supreme Court, which it says has put significant barriers on voters to exercise their right. The Supreme Court decision meant that a number of state governments can change their voting procedures without the Justice Department’s or federal court approval.

Planned Parenthood argues that this change enables state governments to suppress voters from minority communities through restriction laws, such as changing or reducing polling locations, requiring voters to bring specific forms of ID, eliminating early voting periods and same-day registrations, and more.

“Voter suppression harms those who are most impacted by anti-reproductive health and rights laws — communities of color, young people, LGBTQ people, and people with low-incomes,” says the organization. “It directly impedes their ability to fight back against political attempts to control their bodies and reproductive health. Without the right to vote, these communities all lose the right to choose and plan their futures.”