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Matthew Bowman

Principal Advisor at the Office of Civil Rights, Former Deputy General Counsel (HHS)

Appointed to HHS: March 2017

Who is Matthew Bowman?

Matthew Bowman has a history of anti-abortion extremism. From March 2017 to May 2019, Bowman served as deputy general counsel for the entire Health and Human Services Department (HHS). There, Bowman was tasked with ensuring that health policies complied with the law. On May 29, 2019, Bowman was appointed to the role of principal advisor to the director of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). That means he was helping Roger Severino use the OCR to promote discrimination and help employers, health care providers, and others use personal objections to deny access to basic health care.

“[Employers who provide insurance coverage for contraception] kill embryos and bow to the altar of fruitless intercourse.”

Here is what Matthew Bowman controls

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

HHS is charged with protecting the health of all Americans. The Trump-Pence administration slowly reshaped HHS to roll back reproductive rights and limit access to health care.

Related Policies

Planned Parenthood

Refusal Policies

Birth Control Coverage

Abortion Coverage

Background on Matthew Bowman

Fighting to Take Away Birth Control Coverage

Matthew Bowman was the main author of the Trump-Pence administration's proposal to allow employers to refuse to cover birth control based on personal “religious or moral objections.” That means letting your boss keep your insurance from covering birth control if they don't support it. And Bowman has a history of this: Before joining HHS, Bowman was an attorney who represented employers and religious groups trying to deny birth control coverage to their employees.

The New York Times
Getting Arrested for Aggressive Anti-Abortion Protests

From 1996 and 2001, Matthew Bowman had at least 14 run-ins with the law related to aggressive anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ protests. That included arrests at abortion protests, police encounters at abortion clinics (including blocking patients from entering clinics), police encounters at private homes (including intimidating a pastor and his family), and a conviction for a disruptive anti-LGBTQ protest. Bowman also had a habit of following women from their car to health centers that provide abortion, and harassing them about abortion.

Mother Jones
Spreading Lies About Birth Control

Matthew Bowman has repeatedly promoted the false claim that intrauterine devices (IUDs) and emergency contraception cause abortions. In fact, IUDs and emergency contraception (also known as the morning-after pill) are forms of birth control that are used to prevent pregnancy.

Rewire News
Lying About Planned Parenthood

Matthew Bowman spread false claims about Planned Parenthood, which helped promote efforts to block women from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers.

Helping Severino De-Prioritize Discrimination Protections

Under Roger Severino’s leadership, the OCR changed its mission statement from ensuring equal access to federal health programs to protecting “religious freedom.” Matthew Bowman was in a position to support Severino’s shift away from promoting equality and toward protecting people in power who discriminate.

Tracking Trump: Roger Severino
Representing Fake Clinics, aka “Crisis Pregnancy Centers”

As a lawyer, Matthew Bowman represented anti-abortion counseling centers. These “crisis pregnancy centers” often give women biased and inaccurate information — for example, lying to women about how far along they are in a pregnancy — to prevent them from getting an abortion.

Los Angeles Times
Slut Shaming People Who Take Birth Control

Matthew Bowman believes granting people the "anti-pregnancy items" like birth control "correlate with unhealthy lifestyles, especially by enabling promiscuity."

Planned Parenthood Action: Trump Appointees