Voices of Courage Honoree Spotlight: Yashica Robinson, MD

Yashica RobinsonOn June 5, Physicians for Reproductive Health will hold our annual Voices of Courage benefit,  a celebration of the brave doctors who provide abortion care despite the many obstacles to doing this important, necessary work. The cornerstone of our gala is recognizing two abortion providers who are particularly outstanding in the field, and this year we are thrilled to be presenting the George Tiller, MD, Abortion Provider Award, for providers early in their career who have worked to expand abortion access, to Dr. Yashica Robinson. Dr. Robinson, as the owner and founder of Alabama Women’s Wellness Center, is one of a very few abortion providers working in the state of Alabama. She is Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a National Health Service Corps Scholar, and a member of the United States Army Reserves, and in 2016 she joined the board of Physicians for Reproductive Health. She was also recently featured as one of Essence magazine’s “Woke 100 Women,” a list which “honors women who are blazing trails for equal rights and inclusion for Black people in America.” To learn more about Dr. Robinson, check out Dawn Porter’s short film about her work and the and the challenges she has overcome in the course of her career: “The Chosen Life.” 

The AHCA Is a Direct Attack on Reproductive Health Care

Today, the House of Representatives voted to pass the American Health Care Act, a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and affect health care for millions of Americans. In response, Physicians for Reproductive Health Advocacy Fellow Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper issued the following statement:

“Today, Congress and the Trump administration directly attacked reproductive health care. Despite outcry from across the nation, the House voted to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and take insurance coverage away from 24 million people. President Trump also signed an executive order that would make it easier for employers to deny contraception coverage to their employees.

The AHCA removes many of the provisions that currently ensure Americans have access to affordable health care, weakens protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, reduces coverage of essential health services, and increases premium costs. It decimates the Medicaid program, taking away health care from millions of Americans and disproportionately impacting low-income women and women of color. It is appalling that the House would push forward legislation that offers no significant improvements to the bill that was rejected just last month—and that they would rush to pass the bill without a thorough analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.

The AHCA is also a targeted attack against reproductive health. It blocks Medicaid patients from using their insurance at Planned Parenthood health centers, which are the only source of health care for many Americans, as well as an essential provider of family planning services that help avert unintended pregnancies. The bill allows states to opt out of covering essential medical benefits including maternity care, which is one of the highest medical expenses families can incur. It includes financial disincentives for private insurance plans to cover abortion care, which is a fundamental, necessary component of reproductive health care.

This bill is part of a larger campaign by this administration to attack reproductive health care. Particularly in light of today’s executive order that uses religious freedom as a cover for allowing employers to deny contraceptive coverage, there is a clear pattern of politicians trying to make it as difficult as possible for people to access vital reproductive health services.

I am terrified for my patients and for the health of this country. As a physician, I know that patients and families suffer when they are unable to obtain comprehensive, compassionate health care. Congress should be ashamed to pass legislation that puts health care out of reach for millions of Americans. As this bill moves on to the Senate for consideration, physicians must continue to fight for the health and well-being of all of our patients.” 

Trump HHS appointees stand in the way of reproductive health access

President Trump recently announced two appointments to the Department of Health and Human Services that signal a deeply troubling pattern. Charmaine Yoest, anti-choice activist and former president of Americans United for Life, was appointed to assistant secretary of public affairs for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Teresa Manning (Wagner), an anti-choice activist who has stated that birth control doesn’t work, is expected to be named the deputy assistant secretary for population affairs at HHS, the branch that oversees the contraceptive program for four million low-income Americans. In response to the appointments, Physicians for Reproductive Health Board Member Dr. Nancy Stanwood issued the following statement:

“The latest way the Trump administration is attacking reproductive health is by appointing two people to the Department of Health and Human Services who want to stand directly in the way of patients getting the health care they need.

Charmaine Yoest has clearly stated that she wants to make abortion illegal by systematically attacking Roe and working to introduce abortion restrictions at the state level. She has spread false information regarding links between abortion and breast cancer, she refuses to acknowledge the well-established benefits of contraception, and she poses a direct threat to the well-being of the LGBTQ community. This alone should disqualify her from having a prominent role in shaping the communication and messaging from HHS.

Not only has Teresa Manning said that “contraception doesn’t work,” when the evidence says it’s highly effective, but she has a long history of attacking access to it. It’s disturbing that someone appointed to oversee the Title X Family Planning Program—a program dedicated to ensuring that four million Americans who have low incomes or no health insurance have access to birth control—is so misinformed about birth control and would work to dismantle a successful program.

These appointments are unacceptable, as they threaten millions of patients as they try to obtain comprehensive and compassionate health care. The Trump administration’s callous disdain for the health and dignity of women and families appears to know no bounds.” 

The New ACA Repeal Bill Is Even More Reckless

The leaders in Congress marked their return to session and President Trump’s first 100 days in office by trying once again to repeal the lifesaving coverage of Affordable Care Act. In response to the proposed bill, Physicians for Reproductive Health Advocacy Fellow Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper issued the following statement:

“President Trump will have spent his first 100 days in office attacking our nation’s health care. This new proposed ACA repeal bill has the same dangerous ingredients as the reckless bill that failed in Congress a month ago in the wake of vocal, widespread opposition from patients across the county. It will still put comprehensive reproductive health care out of reach for millions of women, especially low-income women, by attacking Medicaid, Planned Parenthood, and abortion coverage. On top of that, this new bill goes further by allowing states to opt out of providing protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, making premiums impossibly out of reach for these patients. It’s reprehensible that any of our elected officials would vote to reduce Americans’ health care coverage, and it’s just bad leadership to keep trying to pass such flawed bills.”