Apr 28, 2017
Staying true to his "pledge to erode the constitutional right to abortion," President Donald Trump on Friday nominated leading anti-choice crusader Charmaine Yoest to a top post at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The anti-choice law firm Americans United for Life, where Yoest previously served as president and CEO, describes the nominee as "'public enemy #1' to many in the pro-abortion community." Indeed, upon learning of her nomination to be assistant secretary of public affairs, advocates of reproductive rights expressed dismay and fear for what her appointment could mean for organizations like Planned Parenthood, and for women's healthcare in general.
"Trump has broken nearly all of his promises to the American people in his first 100 days, but he has certainly stuck to his pledge to erode the constitutional right to abortion, punishing women in the process," Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement Friday.
"This nomination helps fulfill that twisted promise and speaks volumes about the Trump administration's continued disdain for reproductive freedom and women's rights," Hogue continued. "As the former President and CEO of Americans United for Life, Charmaine Yoest has spoken at length about her desire to ban abortion in this country, and has spent her career working to abolish women's most basic constitutional right to bodily autonomy. Her nomination should deeply concern the vast majority of Americans who believe abortion should be legal and accessible, and please anti-choice extremists who are committed to punishing women at every turn."
As assistant secretary of public pffairs at HHS, Yoest will be charged with "shap[ing] communications efforts for the entire agency," Politico observed, adding that the "appointment comes at a time when states with Republican governors and GOP-dominated legislatures have enacted a wave of new abortion restrictions, many of which have been blocked in court."
In other words, Rewirereported, "Yoest will communicate the policy decisions of her boss [HHS Secretary Tom Price], who believes 'there's not one' woman who can't afford birth control, to the press and the public."
Notably, one of AUL's services is drafting anti-choice legislation which it peddles to conservative governments.
"It is unacceptable that someone with a history of promoting myths and false information about women's health is appointed to a government position whose main responsibility is to provide the public with accurate and factual information," said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "Charmaine Yoest has spent her whole professional life opposing access to birth control and a woman's right to a safe, legal abortion. While President Trump claims to empower women, he is appointing government officials who believe just the opposite."
What's more, as one observer pointed out, the HHS Office of Inspector General has already been "pressured into witch hunts" against Planned Parenthood "for years." Now that Yoest will be "in the system," wrote Twitter user @JasperAvi, "she can do an immense amount of harm."
As Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) succinctly put it: "Pres. Trump wants radical anti-abortion activists to make healthcare decisions for women. This is a clear attack on women's basic rights."
NARAL took to Twitter on Friday to highlight just some of Yoest's troubling stances:
\u201cYoest was President of Americans United for Life, which calls itself the architect behind the onslaught of state anti-choice bills, such as:\u201d— NARAL (@NARAL) 1493399771
\u201cShe wants to ban abortion altogether, no exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or health of the mother. https://t.co/5VhNTWsH0o\u201d— NARAL (@NARAL) 1493399771
\u201cYoest opposes birth control like the IUD, which she thinks has \u201clife-ending properties\u201d (it doesn\u2019t.) https://t.co/txrAz087Dn\u201d— NARAL (@NARAL) 1493399771
\u201cShe served as Vice President of the Family Research Council, a @splcenter designated anti-#LGBTQ hate group. https://t.co/tHjQHjTiDe\u201d— NARAL (@NARAL) 1493399771
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