POLITICS

Planned Parenthood Will Start Registering Voters At Its Clinics

The health care provider wants to "engage historically disenfranchised communities."

08/05/2016 02:34 pm ET | Updated Aug 08, 2016

WASHINGTON― Planned Parenthood announced Friday that it will start registering voters at its clinics, on college campuses, online and at other locations, “regardless of their background, beliefs, or political ideology,” in an effort to get disenfranchised populations more involved in the political process.  

The non-partisan campaign, called “My Vote, My Voice,” has the potential to reach a lot of people who don’t normally vote in presidential campaigns. Volunteers across 45 states will set up “action” tables outside of Planned Parenthood health centers and other locations in the community to sign people up to vote, educate them about voter ID laws in their states, and then remind them two weeks before the November election to vote.

Planned Parenthood serves 2.5 million patients a year, and many of those patients are young, low-income, and people of color― the demographics that are disproportionately affected by voter suppression laws. 

“If we can’t all participate in our government, we all get cheated,” said Anna Keene, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman. “We’re launching the ‘My Vote, My Voice’ campaign to help ensure that every voice is heard and every vote is counted in communities across the country. No matter what your political beliefs are, if you don’t or can’t vote, then you can’t elect officials who will keep your best interests in mind.”

While the campaign itself is non-partisan, it will likely benefit Democrats and Hillary Clinton, who have repeatedly defended Planned Parenthood against Republican efforts to defund and discredit it. Young and minority voters tend to vote with Democrats already, but this is especially true of those who rely on Planned Parenthood for low-cost health care and contraceptive services. 

The launch of the campaign is tied to the 51st anniversary of the Voting Rights Act― a 1965 law that aimed to protect African-Americans from legal barriers that affected their right to vote. 

“Our purpose is to engage historically disenfranchised communities,” said Erin Carhart, the Planned Parenthood manager of youth organizing. “Our hope is to encourage folks to participate in democracy.” 

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