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February 1, 2001


Communications Department

Historic Vote Results in Close Confirmation of John Ashcroft as Next U.S. Attorney General

National Abortion Federation Pledges to Speak Out at First Sign that Ashcroft is Not Fully Enforcing the Laws Protecting Abortion Providers and Their Patients

Washington, DC - In one of the closest votes on a Cabinet nominee in this century, the Senate voted narrowly today to confirm John Ashcroft as the next Attorney General. "The fact that so many Senators voted in opposition to Ashcroft shows just how galvanized Americans across the country have been around this nomination," said Vicki Saporta, Executive Director of the National Abortion Federation (NAF). "In just a few weeks, an unprecedented coalition of organizations representing millions of Americans came together to signal to Bush that he can not turn back the clock on the rights cherished by so many Americans to appease a right-wing minority."

"When he chose this extremist nominee, President Bush broke his promise to be a uniter, not a divider," said Saporta. "Americans have sent a clear message that they will be watching George Bush and John Ashcroft over the next four years. They have communicated unequivocally that Bush does not have a mandate to make executive or judicial appointments that are outside of the mainstream."

Saporta continued, "As the organization representing abortion providers and the women who seek their care, we remain deeply concerned that Ashcroft will not vigorously uphold the law. We pledge to closely monitor the work of the Department of Justice under Ashcroft's leadership to ensure that the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act and other laws are fully enforced. From our more than 20 years of documenting trends in violence against abortion providers, we know that when laws are enforced, anti-choice violence decreases. Conversely, when the laws are not enforced, violence and harassment against abortion providers increases. We will not tolerate any increases in the level of violence directed at those who provide safe, legal reproductive health care services to women."

"We commend those Senators who listened to the voices of Americans across the country and rejected this nomination," said Saporta. "At the same time, we are troubled that some Senators who support a woman's right to choose did not do so with this vote. We call on all Senators who supported John Ashcroft to join us in holding him to his promise to vigorously enforce the laws of this country. The lives of too many Americans depend on it."


The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.

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