Charmaine Yoest’s New HHS Role is Great News for the Pro-Life Movement

Yoest is a strong opponent of the HHS contraception mandate.

(photo: Credit: American Students for Life, CC0 1.0)

On Friday, President Donald Trump announced his selection of prominent pro-life legislative activist Charmaine Yoest as the new assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Dr. Yoest served for years as president and CEO of Americans United for Life, a pro-life law organization that works to coordinate and support the advance of pro-life legislation, particularly at the state level. She is currently a senior fellow at American Values in Washington, D.C.

With a Ph.D. in American Government from the University of Virginia, Yoest also served as project director of a national study on paid parental leave in academia. She worked in the White House under Ronald Reagan in the Office of Presidential Personnel.

Yoest couldn't be more politically opposite Kevin Griffs, who held the HHS position and was recently named for a top role at Planned Parenthood.

President Trump made campaign promises for a pro-life administration. He pledged to nominate pro-life Supreme Court justices; sign into law a ban on late-term abortions; defund Planned Parenthood and reallocate funding to community health centers that do not perform abortions; and make permanent a ban taxpayer funding of abortion.

Upon entering office, he reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which states that foreign non-governmental organizations may not receive federal funding if they perform or promote abortions as a method of family planning.

HHS oversees Medicare, Medicaid, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has enormous influence on American healthcare policy. Under the Obama administration, HHS mandated that religious employers like the Little Sisters of the Poor participate in the provision of employees' contraception. It went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ordered employers and the government to try to work out a solution.

While it's still being litigated, the Trump Department of Justice has promised to step in and protect religious freedom. Yoest is strongly opposed to the contraception mandate. 

Yoest tweeted that she's “honored” to be serving Trump and HHS Secretary Tom Price in her new role.