The Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is packed with foes of access to sexual and reproductive health care, and their decisions have already had devastating consequences. From holding immigrant women hostage to deny their right to safe, legal abortion to attacking more than 62 million women’s access to birth control and evidence-based programs such as the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), Trump appointees have abused their power to advance an anti-reproductive rights agenda — and they show no sign of letting up.
When Alex Azar, the administration’s pick to lead HHS, sat for his Senate confirmation hearing on January 9, we heard him explain his questionable views on health care — but women and others needed to hear him answer three key questions:
1. Will he dismiss the anti-science, anti-contraception officials responsible for advancing unconstitutional and dangerous policies?
Such as Scott Lloyd, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, who held an immigrant woman hostage in an attempt to block her constitutional right to obtain an abortion?
Or Teresa Manning — the longtime opponent of birth control put in charge of the nation’s family planning program?
Or Valerie Huber — a relentless advocate of abstinence-only-until-marriage education programs, despite their lack of basis in fact?
2. Will he allow women to be able to decide what the best birth control methods and lifestyles are for their own bodies, in consultation with their doctors — or will he continue to let HHS stand in the way?
Advocates have fought in court against the administration’s effort to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s guarantee that insurance plans must cover birth control — but if the Senate confirms him, Azar could have the power to accelerate the administration’s attacks, potentially forcing more women to pay for contraception out of pocket.
3. Will he allow the government to block hundreds of thousands of people per year from accessing essential care — including birth control and cancer screenings — at Planned Parenthood health centers?
Since Trump entered the presidency, we’ve seen three attempts to enact Trumpcare — all of which would have blocked patients who rely on Medicaid from getting their care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Would Azar respect every person’s access to quality, affordable health care from a provider they know and trust — or would he let that access be eroded?
#AskAzar to fix the #HHSHotMess and respect — and protect — every person’s access to essential health care.