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Jerome Adams

Surgeon General

In September 2017, Dr. Jerome Adams was sworn in as surgeon general by Vice President Mike Pence, with whom he has a close relationship. Adams was formerly the health commissioner of Indiana. He has a medical degree as well as a Master’s of Public Health.

HOW THEIR ROLE AFFECTS ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

The surgeon general oversees the US public health service commissioned corps. In this role, Adams has the power to dictate initiatives for HHS that it uses to center its work. Given the agency’s direction towards anti-choice extremism, Adams could have influence over those decisions.

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT OF NOTE

Indiana State Health Commissioner, 2014 – 2017

Physician-Anesthesiologist, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, Indiana University, 2009 – 2017

TIES TO OTHER ANTI-CHOICE EXTREMISTS

Mike Pence:

Vice President Mike Pence appointed Adams to Indiana health commissioner role and also advocated for Trump to choose him as surgeon general. Pence has an egregious record when it comes to reproductive health. A close ally of extremist groups such as the Susan B. Anthony List, Pence has said, “I want to live to see the day that…we send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history, where it belongs.” As governor of Indiana, he signed the most extreme anti-choice legislation in the counry, which sought to ban certain abortions, mandate forced ultrasounds and an 18-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions, and require that fetal remains be cremated or buried (judges have since blocked the law).

Seema Verma:

The current Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Verma previously worked with Adams in Indiana. There, she was a health care consultant, aiding then-Governor Mike Pence in rolling out the state’s consumer-driven insurance program for low-income Hoosiers — an alternative to Medicaid and the ACA she is now attempting to replicate across other states with federal guidelines meant to demolish Obamacare. The influence of the anti-abortion lobby has been clear in Verma’s tenure at the helm of CMS. She put forward a November 2018 proposed rule that would require health care issuers bill patients separately for abortion services and applauded Trump’s signature of a bill aimed at Planned Parenthood funding alongside anti-abortion activists.   

HIGHLIGHTS

During His 2017 Senate Confirmation Hearing, When Asked About Efforts To Roll Back The ACA’s Contraceptive Coverage Mandate, Adams Said Corporations Should Be Able To Decide What’s Best For Their Employees:

Adams drew fire again, however, when Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) asked a question about a recent executive order that she said would undermine women's access to birth control. ‘What we're trying to do is give corporations the flexibility to determine what is best for their employees,’ he said.” [Med Page Today, 11/16/17]

THE WHOLE STORY

While Adams Was Indiana Health Commissioner, He Was Named As A Defendant In Multiple Lawsuits Against Pence’s 2016 Extremist Abortion Bill

House Bill 1337 — Since Ruled Unconstitutional By A Federal Appeals Court — Attempted To Ban Abortions In Certain Circumstances, Mandate 18-Hour Waiting Periods And Forced Ultrasounds, And Require Fetal Tissue Remains To Be Buried Or Cremated.

As Head Of The Indiana State Health Department, Adams Was A Defendant Of The Extremist Bill. “Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky is bringing another challenge to the state's new abortion law…This time, the organization is claiming that requiring women to have an ultrasound at least 18 hours before an abortion procedure does not have any medical justification and creates a ‘substantial obstacle’ to women seeking an abortion, said Ken Falk, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, which filed the federal lawsuit Thursday on behalf of Planned Parenthood. ‘This law, therefore, is an unconstitutional undue burden on abortion access,’ Falk said in a news release…Defendants in the second lawsuit are the Indiana State Department of Health commissioner and the prosecutors of Marion, Lake, Monroe and Tippecanoe counties, where Planned Parenthood facilities that provide abortion are located.” [Indy Star, 7/7/16]

Connections

Office of the Surgeon General