Press Release |

Azar will not put patients’ interests first at HHS

In response to the nomination of Alex Azar as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Consulting Medical Director of Physicians for Reproductive Health Dr. Anne Davis issued the following Statement:

“The Trump administration has poised the Department of Health and Human Services to dismantle, rather than protect, access to health care and reproductive health care in particular. Nominating Alex Azar as Secretary of the department that is supposed to protect the health and well-being of Americans is part of this deeply troubling pattern.

The Affordable Care Act has helped millions of patients have access to affordable and high-quality reproductive health care. Mr. Azar, however, has been a harsh critic of the ACA and once called it a “fundamentally broken system.” As physicians, we seek to preserve gains brought by the ACA for Americans, and we are concerned Mr. Azar does not has those same interests in mind.

We fear that HHS is badly off-course and doubt Mr. Azar will make the changes needed to really put patients’ interests first.

Mr. Azar would steer the federal agency responsible for implementing health care policy, an organization that recently underwent a deeply disturbing ideological shift with no basis in medicine. Recently, HHS issued a strategic plan that put ideology before medicine by trying to define life as beginning at conception, which could broadly impact access to reproductive health care services, like infertility services, birth control, and abortion care. Officials at the Office of Refugee Resettlement, part of HHS, held a 17-year-old undocumented woman hostage to block her from finding the abortion care she needed. We fear that HHS is badly off-course and doubt Mr. Azar will make the changes needed to really put patients’ interests first.

Nominating Azar will only help the Trump administration to try to use HHS to take health care from patients across the country. My colleagues and I ask the Senate to reject the nomination of Alex Azar.”

Dr. Anne Davis is the Consulting Medical Director at Physicians for Reproductive Health. She’s also an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. Her research interests include new hormonal contraceptives, how women use contraceptives, and contraception in women with medical problems.

Dr. Davis is director of the Kenneth Ryan Family Planning Fellowship at Columbia University, of which she is a graduate. Frequently interviewed by the media, she is a vocal advocate for reproductive choice.