Trump’s Pick for HHS “Megaphone”

Donald Trump continues to appoint important key administration officials for his presidency, and his recent naming of Charmaine Yoest as communications director of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has tongues wagging. Her official title is Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, and in effect, she will be spearheading the HHS’ communications strategy for agency and all its underagencies.

Why are liberals and Democrats worried about Yoest’s appointment? Because Yoest is an outspoken anti-abortion advocate. For the last several years, she has been at the helm of Americans United for Life (AUL), a leading anti-abortion group.

AUL describes itself as the “legal architect of the pro-life movement”, and has been instrumental in ensuring the implementation of anti-abortion legislation, and has worked tirelessly and diligently with many state lawmakers.

AUL has played a pivotal role in enacting laws such as outlawing abortion after 20 weeks. The group has also spoken out against the use of IUD contraceptive devices and the morning-after pill. AUL also advocates for mandated waiting periods and counseling for all women seeking abortions, and has pushed for laws requiring abortion providers to obtain privileges to admit patients to local hospitals.

AUL, with Yoest at the helm, was responsible for several key pieces of legislation, including the law requiring abortion providers to gain admitting privileges at local hospitals. They also pushed for mandated counseling and waiting periods for women seeking abortions, and AUL is also opposed to the use of the morning-after pill and IUDs.

Yoest left AUL and began a senior fellowship at the nonprofit American Values, a group advocating anti-abortion and anti-same sex marriage. Much of the controversy swirls around Yoest’s belief that abortion creates health issues for women later in life. Critics say the medical evidence to support her claims simply isn’t there.

Specifically, she has said on the record that women who have abortions have an increased risk of breast cancer. The AUL group also made the same claim; they report that of the 70 studies performed to look at abortion and breast cancer, 57 of the studies showed positive association and 34 were in the statistically significant range. Five states subsequently implemented laws requiring women to have breast cancer risk counseling prior to having an abortion.

Scientific data has shown that a full-term baby delivery prior to age 20 reduces risk of one type of breast cancer much more than women who give birth at age 30 for the first time. The premise is that if a pregnancy is terminated before age 20, the breast cancer risk goes up.

Interestingly, all the National Institutes are managed by HHS, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI), an agency that has concluded there is no breast cancer risk with abortion. Yoest’s critics complain that she cannot effectively manage HHS communications or communications for the health institutes because she so readily disregards the latest scientific evidence on abortion safety.

Yoest joins HHS Director Tom Price, the staunch anti-abortion former Georgia congressman. Price is famous (or infamous in some circles) as leader of the House budget committee that defunded Planned Parenthood. Additionally, Price has been an outspoken critic of the Obamacare provision that allows health insurance plans to cover contraception with no co-pay.

Yet Yoest is not an extremist; she has great talking points and always sounds reasonable. She smiles and doesn’t raise her voice. She’s always had an interest in politics and started early handing out flyers door-to-door for local Republican candidates. Her mom and dad are Protestants and evangelicals–and academics, and Yoest grew up in a house where opposition to abortion was a religious rather than a political matter.

After college, she worked in the White House for Ronald Reagan. She later earned a Ph.D. in politics from University of Virginia. In 2008, Mike Huckabee asked her to join his campaign, and she later joined AUL.

Yoest has been instrumental in reshaping the stance on anti-abortion. Once singularly focused on the life of the baby, the movement now focuses as well on the life of the mother. Yoest is proud of her accomplishments to move legislation forward, ensuring that women are better informed about all aspects of abortion and making sure women get the best possible medical care.

~ Christian Patriot Daily


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