Statement from Dr. Willie Parker on Trump’s Pick for Attorney General

In response to the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as US Attorney General, Dr. Willie Parker, Board Chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, issued the following statement:

“The nomination of the senator from my home state, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), for attorney general is a threat to the safety of reproductive health care providers and the patients we care for. His extreme record of hostility towards reproductive rights stands in the way of his ability to protect the constitutional right to abortion and the safety of patients and providers. As a physician from Alabama who provides abortions, I have seen firsthand how his brand of politics endangers the health and safety of women and families. This is unacceptable for any officeholder, but especially worrisome for someone who is about to become the chief law enforcement official of our great country.

My colleagues and I serve our patients with compassion so that they can make their own decisions regarding their health, their families, and their futures, but we work in an atmosphere of intimidation and harassment every day. In 2015, clinics around the country, including in Alabama, saw a frightening increase in hate speech, death threats, and violence. Sadly, violence against clinics has only spiked since the election in November, according to the National Abortion Federation.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is the federal department that most affects the safety of abortion providers and patients, and its authority on these issues is far-reaching. As attorney general, Sessions will be responsible for directing work of the National Task Force on Violence Against Health Providers, including its resources and priority status within the DOJ. Furthermore, Sessions’ record clearly calls into question his ability to enforce the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act and to fairly prosecute federal crimes targeting abortion providers.

Senator Sessions’ long history of opposing reproductive rights in Congress demonstrates his contempt for reproductive autonomy and for the medical professionals who provide reproductive health care. He has repeatedly voted against an amendment that would prevent perpetrators of violent crimes against abortion providers from evading fines by filing for bankruptcy. He also opposed the creation of a “Women’s Health Care and Clinic Security and Safety Fund” that would provide safety measures for reproductive health providers and clinics. In addition, he has made troubling comments about sexual assault and voted against protections for LGBTQ individuals. Based on his record as a lawmaker, we are profoundly concerned with Senator Sessions’ ability to protect reproductive health care providers and our patients in the role of attorney general.

Finally, we have deep concerns regarding how Sessions would treat communities of color—communities that are already targeted by restrictive reproductive health laws. Being personally familiar with recent Alabama history, I am keenly aware of how Sessions’ political legacy is marred by racism. As reproductive health care providers, we are dedicated to helping women and men exercise their right to lives of autonomy, dignity, self-determination, and opportunity for all people. Sessions would not protect these fundamental human rights. He is simply not fit to serve as the nation’s highest ranking law enforcement official.” 

Statement from Dr. Anne Davis on Trump Administration Health Policy Hire

Dr. Anne Davis, Consulting Medical Director at Physicians for Reproductive Health, issued the following statement in response to President-elect Trump’s selection of Katy Tolento, who has a history of anti-birth control statements, to serve as a health care policy aide for the administration’s Domestic Policy Council.

Katy Talento’s comments on birth control are wrong. Decades of established science clearly show contraception prevents pregnancy—it does not cause abortion or miscarriages. Women and doctors know from research, as well as our collective experiences, that birth control does not harm a woman’s fertility or health. The opposite is true. Contraception allows women to plan the timing of their pregnancies. Planned pregnancies mean better outcomes for women, their children, and their families. Contraception has far-reaching health benefits, including preventing cancer of the uterus and ovaries. It’s disturbing that someone appointed to lead in healthcare policy would be so misinformed about birth control—what the Centers for Disease Control has lauded as one of the signature health achievements of the 20th century. 

Fall 2016 Newsletter

Under a Trump Presidency, We Will Fight Even Harder for Our Patients!

Dear Friends,

The outcome of the presidential election was a devastating shock to us all. It leaves no doubt that attacks on both abortion access and contraception will continue. It also affirms and cements our determination as an organization committed to the health and well-being of all patients to fight even harder for access for all women to the reproductive health care they need and deserve.

In a recent statement, our Board Chair Dr. Willie Parker said: “My colleagues across the country are deeply disheartened by the election of Donald J. Trump. A Trump presidency will mean that attacks on access to abortion and all other reproductive health services will continue at the federal level and in states all across this country. As physicians, we know firsthand the medical and social harms inflicted on our patients by politically motivated policies that prevent access to safe and comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion. We urge President-Elect Trump to oppose all policies that harm the health, well-being, and dignity of our patients, and that interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. We will remain vigilant and hope to find a way to work with the administration to protect our patients.”

So, in this unsettling time, let me assure you of one thing: our doctors are dedicated, courageous, and compassionate, and they are not going anywhere… except to statehouses and Washington, DC to fight for your reproductive health care needs!

I hope you will continue to partner with us in this important work. Because now, more than ever before, it is critical that we stand together and fight for safe, legal, and affordable reproductive health care for all.

With great thanks and in solidarity,

Jodi Magee

Read the full Fall 2016 Newsletter! 

Plan to Nominate Tom Price Signals an Alarming Direction for Reproductive Health

Jodi Magee, president of Physicians for Reproductive Health, issued the following statement on the plan to nominate Tom Price as Secretary of HHS:

“President-elect Trump’s plan to nominate Representative Tom Price (R-GA) to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) signals an alarming direction for reproductive health. Price has been a staunch opponent of women’s health and the Affordable Care Act during his time in Congress.

Although Price has insisted that “patients, families and doctors should be making health decisions, not Washington DC,” he has directly contradicted that by supporting legislative efforts that interfere in the patient-doctor relationship. For example, Price has voted for anti-choice legislation that would harm our doctor’s patients, including bans on abortion, defunding Planned Parenthood, and repealing the Affordable Care Act. We are deeply troubled that Price, though he is a physician, seems to disregard the strong medical evidence that access to safe and legal abortion and contraception protects not just a woman’s health, but that of her family and community.

As an organization of doctors, we are keenly aware that legislative attacks on access to reproductive care disproportionately target low-income women, women of color, young women, and immigrant women, communities that already suffer from health disparities and inequalities. Should Price be confirmed as HHS secretary, he will be in a position to create even more barriers to comprehensive reproductive health care for these communities. The leader of HHS needs to understand and apply evidence-based medicine to improve health outcomes, not worsen them.

The plan to nominate Price is part of a disturbing pattern of appointments in the weeks since the election. Trump has also:

  • Announced plans to nominate Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to become U.S. Attorney General. Sessions has opposed Roe v. Wade, cutting funding from family planning clinics, protections against clinic violence, and supports bans on insurance coverage for abortion.
  • Named Betsy DeVos, a proponent of so-called crisis pregnancy centers that deliberately mislead women about their pregnancy options including abortion, as his choice for Secretary of Education.
  • Named Steve Bannon of Breitbart News as his chief strategist. Breitbart News has published racist, misogynistic, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant pieces and has repeatedly attacked Planned Parenthood.
  • Called on Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council to serve as the transition team’s leader on domestic policy issues. Blackwell has called abortion a “black holocaust” and is against marriage equality and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons.

We ask the Senate to fully vet cabinet appointees and closely examine their records. We hope that Senators will thoughtfully consider the impact of cabinet level positions on our doctors and their patients’ health before confirming any of President-Elect Trump’s nominees.”