Search form

Group 4 Created with Sketch.
Back to HHS Watch

Mary Vigil

Program Analyst, Office for Civil Rights

Mary Ann Vigil is a nurse and health professional whose work has often been driven by her Catholic faith. Before joining the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), she worked in the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Population Affairs (OPA), which controls Title X funding. She has been vocal about her anti-abortion, pro-religious freedom views.


The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws, health privacy laws and conscience laws. The Washington Post reported that the Office for Civil Rights during under Trump “has been greatly strengthening and expanding protections for health care providers who have religious- or conscience-based objections to procedures such as abortion.” It went on to say that “the makeover appears radical, one that critics worry will jeopardize the care of pregnant women and transgender individuals, as well as others who could be denied certain procedures.”


Senior Advisor, Office of Population Affairs, HHS, 2017 – 2018 / Senior Advisor/Consultant to HHS, Nationwide IT Services, Inc., 2017

Member, Advisory Board, Jerome Lejune Foundation USA (an anti-choice group), 2017

Director of Medical Services, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, 2013 – 2016

Senior Program Manager, Health Care Network, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, 2011 – 2013

Prevention and Chronic Care Programs Supervisor, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, 2010 – 2011


March Bell:

Vigil works with March Bell, OCR chief of staff. March Bell is a longtime anti-abortion advocate who has worked for a who’s who of Christian right-wing politicians. Before joining HHS, Bell led a controversial and politically motivated congressional panel that investigated Planned Parenthood created in the wake of unfounded accusations from a discredited anti-abortion activist.

Roger Severino:

Vigil works with Roger Severino, Director of OCR. Severino is an attorney with a primary focus on defending those who claim their ‘religious liberty’ has been violated for having to provide birth control and abortion services and serve LGBTQ people. Severino professionally disseminates his anti-abortion, homophobic views in the name of religious freedom.

Teresa Manning Wagner:

Vigil worked for Teresa Manning in the HHS Office of Population Affairs. Teresa Manning, a “former anti-abortion lobbyist” with scant experience in any health issues, was appointed by the Trump Administration to oversee the office responsible for administering Title X family planning grants. Her only experience with birth control has been denying its efficacy throughout her career as she worked for and alongside anti-abortion and anti-contraception forces. Wagner was unceremoniously fired from HHS less than a year after her appointment.

Jerome Lejeune Foundation:

Vigil joined the advisory board of the Jerome Lejeune Foundation in 2017. The organization, which focuses on down syndrome research and advocacy, has dubbed down syndrome a “pro-life cause.” Founder Jerome Lejeune, who discovered Down Syndrome, began “advocating for the protection of the unborn with Down syndrome: he gave hundreds of conferences and interviews across the globe in defence of life” after the passage of abortion laws in Western countries.


Vigil Has Signed On To Multiple Open Letters Supporting the Anti-Abortion Movement:

In 2012, Vigil signed an “Open Letter to President Obama, Secretary Sebelius and Members of Congress” in opposition to the birth control mandate. Three years later, Vigil signed a letter from the Catholic Women's Forum stating that life begins at conception.

Vigil Attended "Pro-Life Boot Camp":

Shortly before joining HHS, Vigil attended a week-long "pro-life boot camp" at the Center for Ethics and Culture's annual Notre Dame Vita Institute at the University of Notre Dame, where she was photographed picking up anti-abortion propaganda fliers.


Mary Vigil Protested HHS In 2012 For Its Decision Under The Obama Administration To Ensure That Patients Have Access To Reproductive Health Care 

Vigil Claimed Her Work Options As A Nurse Were Limited Due To Her Religious Beliefs

March 2012: Vigil Didn’t Just Oppose The Affordable Care Act Birth Control Mandate, She Protested HHS — Years Before She Would Come To Work There Herself. “But the mandate, they say, threatens in a new way to take away religious liberties. ‘It hasn’t happened yet,’ said Mary Vigil, a D.C. nurse angry that the Obama administration last year rescinded a Bush-era regulation that expanded the rights of health-care workers to refuse to provide care they oppose on moral or religious grounds. ‘There are so many places I’d like to look for work where I wouldn’t be allowed to practice,’ Vigil said as the crowd behind her chanted, ‘We won’t comply!’” [Washington Post, 3/22/12]

Despite Being A Registered Nurse, Vigil’s Health Care Experience Prior To HHS Has Been Almost Entirely With Anti-Abortion Groups

Vigil Has Spent Much Of Her Time In Health Care Working For The Catholic Charities Of The Archdiocese Of Washington That Opposes Birth Control…

Vigil Is A Nurse, But Her Health Care Experience Is Almost Entirely With Catholic-Based Agencies, Which All Oppose Birth Control. From 2010 to 2016, Vigil served in several health care-related roles for the Archdiocese of Washington and Catholic Charities in Washington, DC, including as Director of Medical Services for Catholic Charities. [DC Department of Health, 1/18/18; American Public Health Association, accessed 12/20/17; The Catholic Standard, 9/25/12; The Catholic Standard, 4/9/13; Ethics and Public Policy Center, 10/1/15]

…Or For A Partisan Sham Organization To Advance Paul Ryan’s Healthcare Bill To Repeal The Affordable Care Act And Subsequently Make It Harder For Women To Obtain Full Reproductive Healthcare

Vigil Also Worked For One Nation Health, An Organization Aligned With Congressman Paul Ryan That Pushed To Unravel The Affordable Care Act And Its Birth Control Mandate. [Jerome Lejune Foundation, accessed 12/20/17]

  • Paul Ryan’s Former Chief Of Staff Was Senior Advisor To Vigil’s Former Employer One Nation Health “John David “Dave” Hoppe is Senior Advisor to One Nation Health and was most recently Chief of Staff for U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.” [One Nation Health, accessed 12/20/17]
  • The Seemingly Now-Defunct Coalition Of One Nation Health Has Been Characterized As Nothing More Than A Group Of Republican Operatives Coming Together To Support Paul Ryan’s Health Insurance Overhaul Legislation “Citing the coalition as evidence of broad support [for Ryan’s legislation] is pure fantasy. The group doesn’t appear to have much of a membership or a following beyond a small handful of former Republican staff members, think-thank pundits and vendors brought together just for Ryan and his plan. The organization has not released a membership list, conceals its website registration using an anonymous proxy site, and its foundation documents were registered… within 24 hours of the public release of the GOP health plan.” [The Intercept 3/14/17]

The GOP’s Proposed Healthcare Bill Would Have Denied Subsidies For Health Insurance Plans That Cover Abortion And Partially Defund Planned Parenthood. “But the GOP bill tightens this. It says that the tax credits at the center of the plan cannot be spent at all on any health care plan that covers abortion (aside from the Hyde Amendment's exceptions)… This bill partially "defunds" Planned Parenthood, meaning it would cut back on the federal funding that can be used for services at the clinics. Fully 43 percent of Planned Parenthood's revenue in fiscal year 2015 — more than $550 million — came from government grants and reimbursements.” [NPR, 3/10/17]