January 22, 2019 Press Release

As HHS Secretary Azar Doubles Down on Anti-Abortion Stance, Equity Forward Launches “HHS Watch” to Track Right-Wing Influence At Trump’s Health Department

Website provides comprehensive research on nearly 50 HHS appointees hostile to reproductive health

1.22.19 – Today Equity Forward launched HHS Watch.org, an extensive website with a library of research on nearly 50 political appointees at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) who are hostile to reproductive health care.  From HHS Secretary Alex Azar to Counselor at HHS Maggie Wynne to former Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Director Scott Lloyd, the site provides a detailed looked at the anti-reproductive health takeover plaguing our nation’s health department.

The interactive interface of the website allows appointees to be sorted and viewed by their internal HHS offices, their ties to other anti-abortion extremists and the issues are they are undermining — allowing a comprehensive look at the agency not offered anywhere else. The site also delves into the views and influences of lesser known appointees who have incredible power in undermining access to care for people in America.  Today’s launch also includes a new video from Equity Forward which illustrates how Secretary Azar — despite promising to follow “evidence and science” during his confirmation hearing — is surrounded by HHS leadership that is unqualified and offensive.  

In addition to launching on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the website comes just days after HHS Secretary Alex Azar doubled down on his agency’s anti-abortion agenda, with Azar reportedly participating in the annual anti-abortion March for Life and appearing alongside the bigoted Family Research Council, where he claimed of HHS: “we are the department of life.”

“HHS’ mission is to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans.  But Azar is not simply tolerating ideologues at his agency, he is one himself, and he is in the mold of other cabinet secretaries brought in to undermine and destroy long-standing programs,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward.

“HHS Watch will be a critical resource for vital information about Azar and his top lieutenants who are imposing their extreme beliefs on the most marginalized people in America from LGBTQ individuals to low-income women and families to migrants.”

Across the department, the Trump administration has appointed a group of unqualified and politically motivated ideologues to run HHS.  Under the leadership of its current Secretary, Alex Azar — who has made his anti-abortion views known — HHS has taken a hard right turn, moving away from relying on science and data and instead elevating a narrow ideology that is not only anti-abortion, but also anti-birth control and anti-LGBTQ. From threatening to cut lifesaving research for diseases like HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to refusing to get rid of deeply offensive leaders who have compared abortion to the Holocaust, Azar’s health department is becoming a hazard to the health of Americans.