On Friday, Georgia congressman Tom Price was confirmed as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. He was voted in 52 to 47 after a hearing process that focused as much on his expertise as his ethics (he had a habit of investing in companies potentially affected by health-care legislation). Price is a trained orthopedic surgeon and, as chairman of the House Budget Committee, he’s been an outspoken critic of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.
He’s also consistently received a zero rating from Planned Parenthood and a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee. Why, exactly? Here’s where he stands on issues affecting women’s health.
He’s staunchly anti-choice.
Despite his frequent objections to policies that interfere with the ability of patients and doctors to make medical decisions, he’s staunchly anti-choice. In 2005 and 2007, he co-sponsored two personhood bills known as Right to Life Acts, which would have granted zygotes full legal protection under the Constitution from the moment of fertilization, effectively banning both emergency contraception and abortion. The bills were introduced but never voted on.
He voted for the so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in both 2013 and 2015, which would have resulted in a nationwide 20-week abortion ban — no matter that such legislation is unconstitutional since 20 weeks is before fetal viability. He also supported an amendment preventing medical-training grants from being used to train graduate students how to perform abortions.
He doesn’t believe birth control should be free.
In addition to being anti-choice, he’s also opposed to free birth control, which studies show reduce the abortion rate. He told ThinkProgress in 2012 that there are no women who struggle to afford birth control and that the ACA’s contraceptive mandate is wrong. “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, this is a trampling of religious freedom and religious liberty in this country.” (A recent report found that more than a quarter of U.S. women and 44 percent of low-income women who use birth control get it from publicly funded clinics.)
In 2013, Price voted in favor of the Blackburn Amendment to HJ Resolution 59, which would have allowed insurers to opt out of covering preventive services for women — including birth control — without cost-sharing on the basis of religious or moral objections.
He thinks employers should be allowed to fire workers for using birth control.
Price opposed a 2015 Washington, D.C., nondiscrimination law that would have prevented employers from firing workers for using birth control or having an abortion.
He wants to gut Planned Parenthood:
Price introduced a 2015 budget reconciliation bill that would have repealed the ACA and barred Planned Parenthood from receiving federal family-planning funding. In 2011, he supported a resolution that would have completely eliminated the federally funded Title X Family Planning Program, barred Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid reimbursements, and reinstated the Global Gag Rule, which prevents groups that receive U.S. aid from providing abortions or counseling patients about them.
If you were a president-elect looking for someone who would, say, defund Planned Parenthood and advocate that birth control no longer be covered for free as preventive care, Price is the perfect candidate.