Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price is an utter disaster for women's reproductive rights. His policies as a physician and later as a Georgia congressman have reflected a consistent fight against women's health, with Price eagerly defending anti-choice legislation and slamming women's healthcare providers at every turn. Now, his appointment as HHS Secretary has the very real chance to bring some of his worst policies directly to the White House. These quotes from Price on women's reproductive rights and healthcare show just how dangerous the president-elect's choice is for women.
Since Price became a congressman in 2005, he has voted against every single measure on abortion brought before congress. In addition to voting to defund Planned Parenthood, Price has also challenged the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive coverage mandate, saying in 2012 that that "there's not one" American woman who is unable to afford birth control. Likewise, he co-sponsored a bill to give developing fetuses equal protection under the 14th Amendment, which is seen by pro-choice advocates as a clear infringement upon the rights of women.
These quotes show just how deeply out of touch Price is, despite his former roles as an orthopedic surgeon, congressman, and now as the likely HHS Secretary:
1. He Thinks No Women Will Have Their Coverage Taken Away
When asked by ThinkProgress what would happen to the low-income women who would lose their access to birth control should the coverage mandate be taken away, he argued that they simply don't exist:
Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one. The fact of the matter is, this is a trampling of religious freedom and religious liberty in this country. The president does not have the power to say that your First Amendment rights go away. That’s wrong.
But the fact of the matter is that the birth control mandate is working — the number of privately insured women who pay no out-of-pocket cost for the birth control pill jumped over 50 percent between 2012 and 2014. Obamacare has also been credited with dramatically reducing the number of abortions in the country, a fact that Price may like, should he actually pay attention to it.
2. He Cares About Religious Liberty
Price's statement on the birth control coverage mandate made one thing clear: he values so-called religious liberty above all else. "This entire law is predicated upon the assumption that a person's individual choices — and in this case one's religious freedoms — are to take a back seat to the wishes and the will of Washington bureaucrats."
He also incorrectly assumes that this mandate was against the will of the people, when in fact, a majority of Americans support it, and believe it should be offered regardless of their employer's religious stance. And not surprisingly, women as a whole are strongly in favor of the coverage.
3. He's Against Using Taxpayer's Money For Abortions
In his proposal for the Protect Life Act, which would have slashed all federal funding to health care plans that cover abortions, Price said he and fellow House Republicans wanted to "ensure that no hard-earned taxpayer dollars are used for abortions." He said this was "a fundamental step in our efforts to protect the sanctity of life." From this statement, it's clear to see why Price poses such a threat to abortion access.
4. He's Not Budging On His Beliefs
Though Price's shortest quote, this is perhaps his most telling — the Georgia congressman repeatedly yelled "I object!" at Democratic congresswomen who were attempting to make their argument for how Obamacare would benefit their lives. After screaming over them multiple times, Price was eventually ruled as out of order and required to stop his disruptive behavior.
Clearly, the new HHS Secretary is no friend to women's reproductive rights. It will be up to the American people and Democratic elected officials to stop his anti-woman policies from going on the books.