ICYMI: Azar Closes Out Week of Dishonest Congressional Testimony

HHS Secretary lied about anti-LGBTQ policies, misrepresented harms of the Title X gag rule​

03.15.19 – During a blockbuster week of Congressional testimony, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar repeatedly deceived lawmakers — and the American people.

Specifically, Azar tried to hide and obscure the various way HHS has taken a hard right turn, rejecting science and data to instead elevate a narrow ideology that is anti-abortion, anti-birth control and anti-LGBTQ. The extent of this influence is detailed in Equity Forward’s research on HHSWatch.org.

Azar’s deception this week included:

  • Claiming that women whose employers refuse to provide birth control under rules his agency created can simply use Title X family planning clinics — despite the fact that his agency is also working to undermine that program and reject providers that offer the full range of birth control options;

  • Claiming that his agency does not support any restriction on placement of children in foster care, even though HHS granted a waiver earlier this year to allow a South Carolina organization that refuses to work with non-Christians or LGBTQ individiuals to receive federal funds to facilitate foster care; and

  • Misrepresenting the harmful effects his agency’s recently released Title X gag rule will have on access to health centers and using an anti-abortion talking point to defend the new rule.

Azar also admitted this week that he did nothing to raise concerns when confronted with Trump's cruel and inhumane child separation policy.

“Being honest in Congressional testimony is the lowest bar we can set for those who helm our government agencies. And yet, Azar failed this week at that very task,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward. “Azar is deliberately withholding the truth from lawmakers and the American people: that Trump’s health department is working overtime to harm our access to reproductive health care and to discriminate against LGBTQ communities.  Azar has officially disgraced himself and his agency on the public stage.”

About Equity Forward

Equity Forward is a watchdog project that seeks to ensure transparency and accountability among anti-reproductive health groups and individuals. In addition to running HHSWatch.org, an extensive website with a library of research on nearly 50 political appointees at our nation's health department, Equity Forward also runs PutPeopleBeforePolitics.org, which calls on Secretary Azar not to cut nearly $100 million in lifesaving research at the behest of the anti-abortion lobby.