In case there was any remaining question — and there should not be — that Donald Trump is the most aggressively anti-choice president in history, his recent appointment of a leading anti-abortion activist to the Department of Health and Human is the ultimate answer.
Donald Trump ran for president on a viciously anti-woman platform, threatening to appoint anti-abortion judges to the court, defund Planned Parenthood, fight to overturn Roe v. Wade, and repeal Obamacare — which particularly benefits women.
And now he has named Charmaine Yoest, one of the most prominent and radical anti-abortion activists in the country, to be assistant secretary of public affairs at Health and Human Services.
Yoest is the former president of Americans United for Life, a group that crafts model legislation for sympathetic state lawmakers to impede access to, or outright ban, abortion care and even birth control. In a 2012 New York Times interview, she said she wants to see abortion criminalized in all circumstances, without exception; thinks embryos should have legal rights; and believes contraception “has life-ending properties.”
She also claimed, falsely, that abortion increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, a myth often repeated by anti-abortion activists, despite studies by the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists saying no such link exists.
In addition to banning abortion and birth control, she is committed to shutting down Planned Parenthood, which provides basic health care to millions of patients every year. In 2011, her organization issued a baseless report calling for investigations of the non-profit health care provider.
That report was cited by extremists in Congress, and by Karen Handel, who was vice president of public policy at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, to justify cutting funds for Planned Parenthood.
Handel, now running against Democrat Jon Ossoff for the Georgia seat left vacant by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, worked with Yoest to implement their shared anti-Planned Parenthood agenda at Komen, a move that proved disastrous for the breast cancer organization.
Handel was forced to resign in disgrace, but now she’s back, trying to make her way to Congress — with the full-throated endorsement of Trump, who is holding an emergency fundraiser for her campaign the very day he has named this radical extremist to his administration.
“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 Federation of America, said in a statement. “While President Trump claims to empower women, he is appointing government officials who believe just the opposite.”
And where is Ivanka Trump in all of this, as her father supports and appoints activists who are virulent in their opposition to women’s health? She had promised, during his campaign, to be an advocate for women, but she has been silent about her father’s anti-woman agenda.
As Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a recent interview with Cosmo, “For the first three months of this administration, women have seen an unrelenting attack on every fundamental right that we’ve achieved, and particularly that we’ve achieved over the last eight years in getting equity and health-care access.” And Ivanka Trump has done nothing to stop it.
During his campaign, Donald Trump mostly avoided talking about his specific positions on reproductive health care, and for the most part, traditional media gave him a pass. But since taking office, he’s made himself perfectly clear by his actions.
He appointed a radical judge to the Supreme Court who has ruled against access to birth control. He signed a bill to gut funding for family planning programs under Title X. And now he has chosen an ideological extremist who rejects medical facts to serve the very government agency dedicated to Americans’ health.