Equity Forward Highlights Attorneys at Trump’s Health Department Using The Law to Restrict Health Care Access

Lawyers include former anti-abortion terrorist who uses his position to rob people of their rights

05.09.19 – In the midst of legal battles over the Department of Health and Human Services’ recent rules gagging providers from referring patients for abortions and denying care to already marginalized communities, Equity Forward is highlighting its extensive research on the health department attorneys using the law to restrict access to health care.

These attorneys came to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from careers in right-wing movements and organizations including thedesignated hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and The Heritage Foundation, an extremist transphobic and anti-abortion group that masqueradesas a mainstream conservative organization. At HHS, these individuals help craft policy rolling back both protections for LGBTQ individuals and access to birth control and attempt to restrict young women’s access to abortion.

“Trump and Pence devise cruel plans that harm people they don't like. But it’s their lawyers who work overtime to turn those plans into reality. It’s no coincidence that Trump’s health department is filled with lawyers who spent their careers fighting against birth control, abortion access and LGBTQ rights in the courts,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward. “Secretary Azar stacked HHS with people who long opposed the exact programs they now run, and his legal staff is no exception.”

Among others, Equity Forward’s research includes information on:

  • Matt Bowman, HHS deputy general counsel and former anti-abortion terrorist, spent years attacking the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) birth control mandate for the hate group Alliance Defending Freedom;

  • Roger Severino, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) director and transphobic bigot, created a new office to develop policies denying health care to women and LGBTQ people and discriminating against LGBTQ and non-Christian foster parents;

  • David Hyams, OCR senior enforcement advisor, built his law practice representing religious organizations and filing amicus briefs on behalf of anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ groups;

  • Marie Meszaros, Office of Health Reform senior policy advisor and Office of the General Counsel advisor and legal counsel, pushed for extreme legislation to hinder women from receiving abortion care;

  • Justin Butterfield, OCR conscience and religious freedom senior advisor, represented groups attacking the ACA’s birth control mandate and supported hateful anti-LGBTQ state legislation.

More information on these individuals, as well as more than 50 anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ appointees at HHS, can be found at HHSWatch.org, an extensive website with a library of research run by Equity Forward.