Trump Picks Anti-Choice, Anti-Contraception Advocates to Head Family Planning Program

May 1st 2017

Anna Albaryan

President Donald Trump's latest appointees to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are two women who have a long history of denying the science behind birth control and the legality of abortion.

Charmaine Yoest, former president of the anti-abortion group, Americans United for Life, will now be assisting HHS Secretary Thomas E. Price, M.D., in one of the only federal programs that focuses on family planning, according to Slate. Yoest has gone on record to claim abortions cause breast cancer, intrauterine devices can kill, and abortion shouldn't be an exception for rape victims, incest, or pregnancies that threaten women's lives.

Yoest's appointment is troubling for many reproductive rights advocates who rely on the HHS to create common-sense policies for women's reproductive health.

"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," Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement.

Trump's second appointee, Teresa Manning, hasn't garnered support from reproductive rights advocates, either.

The staunchly conservative law professor will also be assisting Price on several family planning policies and Title X programs, including "adolescent pregnancy, sterilization, and other population issues," as reported by Rewire.

Much like Yoest, Manning has also spoken against abortion, claiming "contraception doesn't work," despite overwhelming scientific evidence that says otherwise.

"Teresa Manning has made a career out of denying women their right to reproductive health care services. It’s unconscionable and insulting that a vocal opponent of essential health care services has been tapped to lead the nation’s family planning program," Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement emailed to ATTN: Monday.

As is the case with a lot of Trump's appointees, people are pissed with the administration's decision.

Planned Parenthood is now calling on Trump to withdraw the controversial pick before there's any lasting damage to women's health policies.

"This is the fox guarding the hen house, and women with low incomes will pay the price. It is a cruel irony to appoint an opponent of birth control to oversee the nation’s only federal program dedicated to family planning," said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement.

"While President Trump claims to empower women, he is appointing government officials who believe just the opposite," Laguens added.

Where does Ivanka Trump stand in all this?

Some are asking Ivanka Trump, who was previously characterized as a potential advocate for women's choice, to step up to her father about his picks.

Both Yoest and Manning have been greenlighted to assist the secretary in the HHS as soon as possible, since the appointments don't require a Senate hearing. Despite their appointments, reproductive rights organizations are still pledging to fight for safe and legal women's healthcare throughout their term.

Northup went on to say in a statement: "President Trump is sending a clear message with this appointment as he wraps up his first 100 days in office: this administration is willing to sacrifice women’s dignity and health to advance an extremist political agenda. The Center for Reproductive Rights will fight to ensure all women get the health care services they need free from political interference or alternative facts."