Issues

The ACLU defends the civil rights and freedoms granted by the Bill of Rights. Broadly defined, these include over a dozen issue areas, such as the First Amendment right to free speech, assembly and religious liberty, the Fourth Amendment right to privacy and to be free from unreasonable searches, and the Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection under the law. We advocate for members of many disenfranchised communities, including people of color, LGBTQ persons, women, immigrants, low income people, homeless, prisoners, students and the elderly.

  • Capital Punishment

    The ACLU Capital Punishment Project is fighting for the end of the death penalty by supporting moratorium and repeal movements through public education and advocacy. We are engaged in systemic reform of the death penalty process, and case-specific litigation highlighting some of its fundamental flaws.

  • Criminal Law Reform

    The ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project’s goal is to end punitive drug policies that cause the widespread violation of constitutional and human rights, as well as unprecedented levels of incarceration.

  • Free Speech

    Freedom of speech is protected in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights and is guaranteed to all Americans. Since 1920, the ACLU has worked to preserve our freedom of speech. Learn more and take action to protect the right to free speech.

  • HIV / AIDS

    The ACLU AIDS Project uses impact litigation, public education and advocacy at the state and federal level to fight discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS. Learn more about the ACLU’s work on behalf of Americans living with HIV/AIDS.

  • Human Rights

    The ACLU Human Rights Program works to ensure that the U.S. government complies with universal human rights principles in addition to the U.S. Constitution. The Program uses human rights strategies to complement existing ACLU advocacy.

  • Immigrants’ Rights

    The Constitution guarantees the fundamental rights and civil liberties of every person in this country. Upholding the rights of the politically disenfranchised is vital; when the government has the power to deny legal rights and due process to one group of people, it puts all our rights in danger.

  • LGBT Rights

    The LGBT Project fights discrimination and moves public opinion through the courts, legislatures and public education across five issue areas: Relationships, Youth & Schools, Parenting, Gender Identity and Expression and Discrimination in Employment, Housing and other areas.

  • National Security

    Illegal government spying, indefinite detention without charge or trial and government-sponsored torture programs after 9/11 transcended the bounds of law and our most treasured values in the name of national security. There has never been a more urgent need to restore individual freedoms, due process rights and our system of checks and balances.

  • Prisoners’ Rights

    The ACLU’s National Prison Project is dedicated to ensuring that our nation’s prisons, jails, juvenile facilities and immigration detention centers comply with the Constitution, federal law, and international human rights principles, and to addressing the crisis of over-incarceration in the U.S. Since 1972, the Project has fought unconstitutional conditions of confinement through public education, advocacy, and successful litigation on behalf of more than 100,000 men, women and children.

  • Racial Justice

    The Racial Justice Program aims to preserve and extend the constitutional rights of people of color. Committed to combating racism in all its forms, our advocacy includes litigation, community organizing and training, legislative initiatives, and public education.

  • Religion & Belief

    The right to practice religion, or no religion at all, is among the most fundamental of the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The ACLU works to ensure that this essential freedom is protected by keeping the government out of religion.

  • Reproductive Freedom

    The ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project protects everyone’s right to make informed decisions free from government interference about whether and when to become a parent. Learn more about our work in reproductive health and take action to protect rights guaranteed to all Americans.

  • Technology and Liberty

    The Technology & Liberty Program monitors the interplay between cutting-edge technology and civil liberties, actively promoting responsible uses of technology that enhance privacy and freedom, while opposing those that undermine our freedoms and move us closer to a surveillance society.

  • Voting Rights

    Established in 1965, the ACLU Voting Rights Project has worked to protect the gains in political participation won by racial and language minorities since passage of the historic Voting Rights Act (VRA) that same year. The Project has filed more than 300 lawsuits to enforce the provisions of the VRA and the U.S. Constitution.

  • Women’s Rights

    Women have made great strides in the fight for equality, but gender bias continues to create huge barriers for many, especially poor women, women of color, and immigrant women. Ongoing struggles include ensuring equal economic and educational opportunities, ending gender-based violence, and addressing the harms to women and girls in the criminal justice system. Since 1972 the ACLU has been working to systematically end sex discrimination and ensure that all women and girls are able to lead lives of dignity.