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The Powerful Voicemails Women Who Had an Abortion Left for Their Senators

Planned Parenthood asked women to record their abortion stories as part of a new campaign to block Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation.
Photo by Ilya via Stocksy.

The fight to oppose President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nomination is getting personal.

This week Planned Parenthood launched a new ad campaign called #DearSenators, which uses women's personal accounts of what Roe v. Wade means to them as a means to urge senators to block Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Planned Parenthood gave its supporters a number to call into, asking them to leave a voicemail of what they most want to tell their senators—beyond simply asking them to vote no on Kavanaugh. The group collected the voicemails to produce a video ad Planned Parenthood hopes will drive home what's at stake when abortion rights hang in the balance.


"Our doctor recommended I have a termination," one woman says in the video. "It was the most horrible, gut-wrenching time in our lives. My husband and I desperately wanted our twins, and it was crushing to find out they weren't going to live, and then even more crushing to find out that society was going to treat me like a criminal for wanting to save my own life."

A Planned Parenthood spokesperson told Broadly Wednesday morning that the campaign represents a "shift in focus away from the political to the personal," a tool the organization found to be effect when it went up against the GOP's legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which would have had a particularly profound impact on women's health.

Planned Parenthood, and the other reproductive rights groups affiliated with the campaign—which include the National Women's Law Center, Center for American Progress Action Fund and Stand Up America—want to make sure the fight to preserve Roe v. Wade keeps women's stories at its center.

“While politicians like Senator McConnell and President Trump may see this as a political game, for millions of Americans, the fight over Kavanaugh is personal," Carmen Berkley, the managing director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in statement. "Senators must hear our stories—the stories of those who will be most affected by Kavanaugh."

Kavanaugh has made his stance on choice fairly transparent during his time as a federal judge, attempting to block an immigrant minor in US custody from getting an abortion just last year. In his dissent—Kavanaugh was in the minority with his vote—he argued the government has "permissible interests in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion."

Since Kavanaugh's nomination, abortion rights activists have been sounding the alarm bells, and groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL have been pulling out all of the stops to pressure senators to stop Kavanaugh from taking up the bench and overturning Roe. If he gets the opportunity to decide on the landmark 1973 decision, they believe his choice will be clear.

"The constitutional right to have an abortion is at stake," Berkley said. "Our ability to get health care and to live free of discrimination is at stake. People in America are worried about not just their future, but the kind of America we’re leaving to our children, grandchildren, and for generations to come."