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.”