Acting Planned Parenthood president: Biden 'must address' Tara Reade allegation 'directly'

Planned Parenthood acting President Alexis McGill Johnson on Thursday night called for former Vice President and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE to directly address allegations of sexual assault brought against him by Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer.

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“At Planned Parenthood Action Fund, we believe women. We know how important it is that survivors be supported and listened to – survivors of sexual violence not only seek care at Planned Parenthood health centers every day, they are also dedicated staff members and supporters,” Johnson said in a statement.

She added: “We believe that survivors should be heard, listened to, taken seriously, and treated with respect and dignity. … Vice President Biden must address this allegation directly. Our country is hungry for leadership on this issue. Now is the time to give it to them.” 

McGill Johnson’s statement comes as Reade’s allegations have garnered increasing attention. In 2019, Reade was one of several women who came forward and said that Biden’s alleged public touching made them uncomfortable. Last month, Reade alleged that Biden in 1993 sexually assaulted her in a secluded part of Capitol Hill when he served as a Delaware senator. Lynda LaCasse, a former neighbor of Reade’s, said earlier this week that Reade recounted the story of the alleged assault to her.    Reade’s brother, Collin Moulton, has previously claimed that she told him that Biden “had his hand under her clothes at some point.” Reade said that she allegedly confronted other Biden aides about the alleged incident afterward, but the aides that she named have gone on the record saying that Reade never confronted them about the allegation. Reade also claimed she filed a complaint with the human resources office in the Senate about the allegations of inappropriate touching, though reporters at this point have been unable to find the complaint. Reade said she believes that the complaint is in Biden’s Senate archives at the University of Delaware, and the school has stated that it will not release the former vice president’s records until he has stepped away from public life.  Biden’s campaign has vigorously denied Reade’s allegations, but the former vice president has not directly addressed them. “Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield previously said to The Hill. “He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press,” she added. “What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.” Biden will appear on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday to address the media coverage about Reade’s allegations for the first time. 

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