With President Donald Trump’s unceremonious ouster of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, Trump has nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo to fill this important position. Whereas Tillerson was largely inexperienced in politics, Pompeo has a track record and plenty of experience attacking the human rights of women, girls, LGBTQ people, and youth. He must be stopped.
What does the secretary of state even do?
The secretary of state is the top diplomat and public face for the U.S. to world leaders in important settings around the globe. To preserve America’s global standing and advance our national interests, U.S. leaders must continue to promote global development and diplomacy, and for the secretary of state, that includes championing and defending human rights. The secretary of state has significant influence over the rights, health, and very lives of women and the communities that depend on them around the world – for better (overseeing the vital work of the Office of Global Women’s Issues, PEPFAR [the nation’s global HIV/AIDS program], humanitarian assistance, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and the Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons) or for worse (implementing the Trump-Pence administration’s deadly global gag rule).
Why is Pompeo so bad for this role?
Mike Pompeo is an opponent of human rights. He has a hostile record of action and rhetoric against the human rights of the very groups that these offices under the secretary of state are designed to protect.
Here’s just a few examples of why Pompeo is the worst:
He callously disregards women’s needs around the world. As a member of Congress, Pompeo consistently voted for legislation that codified the global gag rule, a dangerous policy that deprives women around the world of quality health care and full control over their bodies, futures, and lives. He also cosponsored legislation to eliminate funding for United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which provides critical family planning services often in the most dire humanitarian settings.
He opposes some forms of contraception and abortion access even in the case of rape. Pompeo has cast dozens of votes to attack women’s health, including co-sponsoring a so-called “personhood” bill that would not only make abortion illegal in almost all cases, but even ban the most common forms of contraception (which could drive up unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion services).
He’s anti-LGBTQ. Pompeo has consistently opposed LGBTQ rights through his support of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and his condemnation of the historic 2015 Obergefell ruling that guaranteed marriage equality.
He’s anti-Muslim. Pompeo has made discriminatory and dangerously misleading statements about Muslims, which could undermine diplomacy, a critical responsibility of the secretary of state.
And this is just the short list.
Given Pompeo’s record, he is likely to double down on the devastating Trump-Pence agenda that has hurt women, girls, and communities around the world since day one. If you thought Tillerson was bad, this is the man Trump is replacing him with to push the agenda harder and further than before.
Pompeo’s committee confirmation hearing is scheduled for April 12, and he could go to the Senate floor soon after. Several letters and statements from a diverse set of groups have condemned his nomination for secretary of state, including a letter that Planned Parenthood Federation of America signed along with a coalition of 60 other organizations committed to diplomacy, reproductive rights, and human rights.
Planned Parenthood believes that all people deserve to live healthy lives and have their human rights respected, protected, and fulfilled — no matter who they are or where they live. We need a secretary of state who will protect the rights of women and girls instead of undermining them, who opposes discrimination of LGBTQ people instead of attacking them, who builds bridges with Muslim communities instead of feeding into Islamophobia, and who promotes access to health care, including reproductive health services, instead of seeking to ban abortion and contraception access. Pompeo is none of these things, and he must be stopped.
If senators asked the hard questions on Pompeo's record on women's health and rights and discrimination against LGBTQ people and Muslims, they'd work to #StopPompeo. We need a secretary of state who protects #humanrights — not one who tramples them.