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Monique Chireau Wubbenhorst

Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Global Health, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Dr. Monique Chireau Wubbenhorst is the senior deputy assistant administrator for USAID’s Bureau of Global Health. Prior to this role, Wubbenhorst was faculty at Duke University School of Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Wubbenhorst served as board member for The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Americans United for Life, and is affiliated with anti-abortion research group World Expert Consortium for Abortion Research and Education. She has given public speeches against abortion at the Heritage Foundation, faulted the #MeToo movement as an adverse outcome of the sexual revolution, testified against the Women’s Health Protection Act, and otherwise used her prestigious academic background to advocate against evidenced-based contraception, abortion and reproductive health care. 

HOW THEIR ROLE AFFECTS ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

In her current role, Wubbenhorst works to shape the United States’ global health initiatives within USAID’s Bureau for Global Health. She also represents the United States at the World Health Organization’s Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health. Prior to her appointment, Wubbenhorst admonished global health programming that promotes equitable access to birth control, comprehensive sex education and abortion as necessary health care.

Dr. Wubbenhorst, along with her colleague Dr. Alma Golden, are anti-choice, anti-abortion, anti-comprehensive sex education physicians positioned to export the Trump administration’s dangerous reproductive health agenda. This is an agenda that has removed gender-inclusive language from official United Nations documents, reinstated and expanded the global gag rule, withdrawn from the World Health Organization and implemented an overall anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ agenda both domestically and abroad.

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT OF NOTE

Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University School of Medicine, 2003–2018

Faculty, Vita Institute, De Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture

Senior Consultant, United States Veterans Administration, 2007–2009

TIES TO OTHER ANTI-CHOICE EXTREMISTS

Alma Golden, M.D.:

Alma Crumm Golden is the assistant administrator for USAID’s Bureau of Global Health. Wubbenhorst is Golden’s coworker. Golden has held multiple positions within the agency under the Trump administration. Golden previously served as the assistant secretary for the Office of Population Affairs (OPA) in HHS under the George W. Bush administration, overseeing matters of teen pregnancy prevention, family planning, embryo adoption and abstinence education. Golden is a pediatrician who has advocated for abstinence-only education throughout her career.

Jaqueline Rivers, Ph.D.:

Jaqueline Rivers appeared with Wubbenhorst on a panel titled “Biological and Racial Mistakes: A Discussion of Racism, Eugenics, and Abortion” sponsored by the University of Notre Dame Law School. Dr. Rivers is Commissioner at the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights. She utilizes a theological framework to promulgate homophobia and anti-choice rhetoric. Rivers runs the Seymour Institute, a religious conservative think tank, with her husband, Reverend Dr. Eugene Rivers.

Priscilla Coleman, Ph.D.:

Wubbenhorst served alongside Priscilla Coleman, Ph.D., at the World Expert Consortium for Abortion Research and Education. Coleman gained academic notoriety for a debunked study that purported a causal link between abortion and subsequent mental health problems. Coleman’s subsequent meta-analysis of studies exploring relationships between mental health and abortion was criticized for its use of flawed methodology, including critique from the original publication’s editor-in-chief. Wubbenhorst referenced this debunked study as evidence during her testimony against the Women’s Health Protection Act.

HIGHLIGHTS

Wubbenhorst Believes That Equitable Abortion Access Encroaches On Health Care Providers’ Rights To Impose Their Religious Beliefs On Patients’ Health Care

In Her Testimony In Front Of the Senate Against S. 1696, The Women’s Health Protection Act, Wubbenhorst Claimed The Bill Would Endanger Doctors’ “Freedom Of Conscience.” “I appreciate the opportunity to testify today regarding the impact that S. 1696 would have on the regulation of abortion in the United States. S.1696 could be reasonably interpreted to invalidate virtually any type of current state laws which place restrictions or regulations on abortion. It would also endanger healthcare providers’ freedom of conscience. It would also prohibit the future enactment of any of these laws.” [Senate Judiciary Committee Testimony, 7/15/14]

Wubbenhorst Is A Medical Doctor Who Thinks Family Planning “Is A Mirage”

Wubbenhorst Wrote That Family Planning Is A “Mirage” And That “God Has The Ultimate Power To Open And Shut The Womb.” “Couples can also hope when they stop contraception and try to become pregnant that they will succeed. But prolonged contraceptive effect and delayed return of fertility is well known with Depo-Provera.35-37 Sadly, it is also well-documented that many women have contracepted past the limits of their own natural fertility (for an especially poignant discussion of this modern dilemma, see Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children by Sylvia Ann Hewlett).38-41 Human beings cannot decide infallibly that they will or will not become pregnant when they want to. ‘Family planning’ is a mirage which promotes the illusion that we have a degree of control over life that, as humans, we simply do not have. The Bible states that God has the ultimate power to open and shut the womb.” [Christian Journal for Global Health, 10/23/17]

Wubbenhorst Is Firmly Against Promoting Usage Of Birth Control

Wubbenhorst Seems To Believe That Any Type Of Intervention That Prevents Pregnancy Is Unacceptable. “For Christians who believe that life begins at implantation, methods that disrupt an implanted pregnancy are abortifacient and, therefore, not acceptable. These may include the drugs ulipristal (Ella, which blocks the action of progesterone) or mifepristone (part of medical abortion protocols). The mechanism of action of both these drugs appears to be embryocidal, but they are recommended for use as emergency contraception (EC). EC is universally promoted alongside other types of contraception. Conversely, for Christians who believe that life begins at conception, contraceptive methods that prevent or interfere with implantation and therefore indirectly embryocidal are unacceptable.” [Christian Journal for Global Health, 10/23/17]

…And Actively Discourages Promoting All Birth Control Methods Except Fertility Awareness. “Do not promote any contraceptive technology that is life-destroying. Encourage the use of free or very low-cost, low-tech methods (such as Fertility Awareness) which do not require outside inputs, have low or no side effects, require shared responsibility, and for which there is no financial incentive or profit motive.” [Christian Journal for Global Health, 10/23/17]

Wubbenhorst’s Religious Rejection Of Birth Control Is Very Concerning Considering Her Position At USAID’s Bureau For Global Health. “Further, God gave human beings the power, through the act of marriage (sex) to procreate immortal human life in His image and likeness. This blessing and responsibility was given to us before the Fall. Our understanding of how to prevent pregnancy came to us after the Fall and was tainted by our fallen nature. In light of this, as fallen creatures, we need to exert the greatest caution in promoting the use of technology in a context that could not only damage or destroy the image of God in other human beings, but ultimately undermine their societies and cultures.” [Christian Journal for Global Health, 10/23/17]

THE WHOLE STORY

Wubbenhorst Testified Against The Women’s Health Protection Act In Front Of The Senate Judiciary Committee

The Women’s Health Protection Act, Introduced In 2013, 2015, 2017 And 2019, Could Expand And Protect Abortion Access. “To protect a woman’s ability to determine whether and when to bear a child or end a pregnancy, and to protect a health care providers’ ability to provide reproductive health care services, including abortion services.” [Act For Women, 5/19]

Wubbenhorst Believes That Equitable Abortion Access Encroaches On Health Care Providers’ Rights To Impose Their Religious Beliefs On Patients’ Health Care. “I appreciate the opportunity to testify today regarding the impact that S. 1696 would have on the regulation of abortion in the United States. S.1696 could be reasonably interpreted to invalidate virtually any type of current state laws which place restrictions or regulations on abortion. It would also endanger healthcare providers’ freedom of conscience. It would also prohibit the future enactment of any of these laws.” [Senate Judiciary Committee Testimony, 7/15/14]

Wubbenhorst Cited A Research Study That Falsely Linked Adverse Mental Health Outcomes To Abortion Care. “A robust literature exists on mental health problems following abortion. Coleman (2011) performed a meta-analysis which included 22 studies and 877,181 women. An 81% increase in mental health problems including depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicide was noted in women who had induced abortion. The risk for mental health problems was increased [by]  55% in women who had induced abortion compared with those who gave birth. Therefore, any assertions that there are no significant risks to abortion, either medical or surgical, are contradicted by data.” [Senate Judiciary Committee Testimony, 7/15/14]

Wubbenhorst Referenced Research That Had Been Critiqued For Not Adhering To Scientific Guidelines… “We have serious concerns about the methodology of the quantitative synthesis by Coleman 1 and want to highlight these to prevent readers and policy makers drawing erroneous conclusions, in particular the incorrect statement that ‘nearly 10% of the incidence of mental health problems was shown to be attributable to abortion’. This quantitative synthesis and meta-analysis did not follow the robust methodologies now generally accepted for systematic reviews. 2 There is no detail of the search strategy including search terms; the strategy is not comprehensive (only two databases included); other strategies to search the literature, including citation tracking, hand searching and contacting authors and experts in the field to try to minimise publication bias, were not carried out; and there was no assessment or rating of the quality of included studies, so that only those of at least reasonable quality are included in the meta-analysis. This is particularly important here as many of the primary studies included in this review have significant methodological limitations, including non-prospective design, non-standardised measures of mental disorders, lack of adjustment for pre-existing mental illness, lack of adjustment for other key confounders (e.g. social deprivation), non-comparability of exposed and non-exposed groups, and selection bias.” [The British Journal of Psychiatry, 1/12]

The Critique Emphasized “Erroneous Conclusions Drawn By The Author.” “Most importantly for readers of this study to know, is the erroneous conclusions drawn by the author regarding the population attributable risk (PAR). The underlying assumptions for estimating PAR include that there is a causal relationship between the risk factor (abortion) and the disease (mental ill health) and that there is independence of the considered risk factor from other factors that influence disease risk. 9 These assumptions are clearly not met in this review and therefore it is completely inappropriate to calculate a PAR from these data. Abortion and mental health is a politicised issue – it is therefore essential that research in this field is methodologically robust.” [The British Journal of Psychiatry, 1/12]

Wubbenhorst Completely Minimized A Patient’s Right To Do What Is Best For Their Physical And Mental Health. “Ultimately, the overwhelming majority of abortions (78%) are done because ‘having a baby would change my life drastically.’ An unwanted pregnancy is for many women a very difficult and life-changing circumstance, but not a life-threatening health problem.” [Senate Judiciary Committee Testimony, 7/15/14]

Wubbenhorst Mischaracterized Findings From A Finnish Study To Weakly Support Her False Claims About Abortion Complications In The United States. “Chireau also cited a 2009 study conducted in Finland that found a higher rate of hemorrhage and ‘adverse events’ (particularly from medication abortion, as opposed to surgical) among women in Finland than other studies have. The study found that 20 percent of women who had an abortion via medication experienced adverse events (highest among them hemorrhage and incomplete abortion), compared with 5.6 percent of women who had a surgical abortion. Chireau used the study to imply that abortion complications in the U.S. are probably higher than what is usually represented in the medical literature. ‘These statistics represent a significant burden of disease; if applied to the United States, where 1.3 million abortions are performed annually, this translates to 260,000 adverse events per year,’ Chireau said. ‘While these statistics are troubling, they are impossible to verify in the United States, where abortion surveillance is incomplete and inadequate.’ However, Chireau mischaracterized the findings of the study, specifically that the authors concluded that ‘[b]oth methods of abortion are generally safe, but medical termination is associated with a higher incidence of adverse events. These observations are relevant when counseling women seeking early abortion.’” [Rewire News Group, 11/13/14]

Wubbenhorst Used Patronizing Language To Advocate For State Government Regulation Of Women’s Bodies And Reproductive Outcomes. “It is noteworthy that substance abuse, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation and mental health problems are risk factors for abortion, suggesting that abortion may be a marker for these social comorbidities. Thus, women seeking abortion are likely a vulnerable population, who need special protections. It is therefore clear that for practical, medical and legal reasons states have an interest in pregnant women and unborn life because of their need for these protections.” [Senate Judiciary Committee Testimony, 7/15/14]

Wubbenhorst’s Evangelical Christian Beliefs Are The Foundation Of Her Anti-Science, Anti-Abortion, Anti-Reproductive Freedom Approach To Reproductive Health Care

Wubbenhost Is In Direct Opposition To The American College Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists’ Position On Birth Control. “Access to comprehensive family planning is an integral component of women’s health care. ACOG believes all women should have unhindered and affordable access to all FDA-approved contraceptives. ACOG advocates for patient access to contraception without cost-sharing, access to FDA-approved contraceptives over-the-counter without additional barriers, continued patient access to qualified providers, and access to care for low-income women and adolescents at Title X-funded facilities.” [The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, accessed 10/19/20]

Wubbenhorst Wrote A Christian Journal For Global Health Article Revealing That Despite Her Training As An Obstetrician Gynecologist, She Does Not Believe In Family Planning

Wubbenhorst Wrote That Christian Organizations Should Not Work With Pro-Choice Groups. “Christian organizations should consider not supporting or entering into a partnership with any organization that performs or promotes abortion, or which is associated with organizations that do so. By extension, when considering international FP programs, some fundamental questions need to be asked from a Christian perspective and their theological basis examined carefully. This does not mean that Christians should withdraw from working with pro-abortion governments. Rather, we must obey the New Testament command to not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14).” [Christian Journal for Global Health, 10/23/17]

  • But Pew Research Center Polls Show That 60% Of Mainline Protestants, 52% Of Historically Black Protestant, And 53% Of Orthodox Christians Support Abortion Being Legal In All Or Most Cases. [Pew Research Center, 5/30/14]

Wubbenhorst Questioned Birth Control’s Efficacy In Her Journal Article. “The definition and purposes of ‘family planning’ should be explicitly stated and examined carefully. For example, one Christian group describes family planning as enabling ‘couples to determine the number and timing of pregnancies, including the voluntary use of methods for preventing pregnancy—not including abortion—that are harmonious with their values and beliefs.’34 This definition is problematic from a Christian perspective. First, it is an overstatement to say that with ‘family planning’ couples can determine the number and timing of pregnancies. At most, they can try to prevent or space pregnancies (birth spacing). But what happens when a woman becomes pregnant while using contraception? In the context of the contraceptive mentality, could abortion (birth limiting) become the ‘backup,’ as stated earlier?” [Christian Journal for Global Health, 10/23/17]

Wubbenhorst Thinks Family Planning “Is A Mirage” Despite Her Training As A Medical Doctor. “Couples can also hope when they stop contraception and try to become pregnant that they will succeed. But prolonged contraceptive effect and delayed return of fertility is well known with Depo-Provera.35-37 Sadly, it is also well-documented that many women have contracepted past the limits of their own natural fertility (for an especially poignant discussion of this modern dilemma, see Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children by Sylvia Ann Hewlett).38-41 Human beings cannot decide infallibly that they will or will not become pregnant when they want to. ‘Family planning’ is a mirage which promotes the illusion that we have a degree of control over life that, as humans, we simply do not have. The Bible states that God has the ultimate power to open and shut the womb.” [Christian Journal for Global Health, 10/23/17]

Wubbenhorst Made Clear That She Opposes Marriage Equality And Denies The Diverse Array Of Family Types. Another point to be made here is that family planning is mentioned exclusively in reference to limiting or preventing pregnancy. But true family planning would also include helping people who want more children, who wish to achieve pregnancy and childbearing but for whatever reason have been unsuccessful. Does this project also include helping such couples? While WHO’s definition of FP includes treatment of infertility, in practice this is not a programmatic emphasis. Along these lines, it should be noted that emotional, physical, economic, and psychological benefits accrue more to married couples, and children raised in an intact family with a married father and mother. Is this also part of the teaching and care given? Is marriage affirmed and are sexual relationships outside of marriage explicitly discouraged? This is an important aspect of Christian ethics that should be emphasized.” [Christian Journal for Global Health, 10/23/17]

Wubbenhorst’s Published Article Paints A Clear Picture Of Her Inability To Separate Church From State. “An often-cited rationale for promoting family planning is to combat poverty with the assumption that a family with fewer members will be able to give more to each individual member. USAID is ‘the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.72 As one of four strategic priorities to prevent child and maternal deaths, family planning is funded to help end extreme global poverty. But how is it accomplished? If contraception is made widely available, how will that help eliminate extreme poverty? Couldn’t a large number of children actually help families come out of poverty by having more working members in the family? The document also implies that making family planning available will enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. But what does this mean? What is our yardstick as Christians for a godly society?” [Christian Journal for Global Health, 10/23/17]

Wubbenhorst’s Biblical Interpretations Call For Procreation And Denounce All Forms Of Birth Control. “Various biblical rationales are sometimes given for family planning such as the call to take dominion, provide for family, and promote abundant life. Adam’s naming of the animals with no stated participation by God is sometimes cited as evidence that man is a ‘co-creator’ with God.76 It is inferred that there are some things that God has left to humanity to decide on their own, and this includes the number and spacing of children. God spoke clearly to Adam and Eve, ‘Be fruitful and multiply: fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’ (Genesis 1:28). This is a clear command to procreate. There is no opposite command to prevent procreation.” [Christian Journal for Global Health, 10/23/17]

Wubbenhorst Seems To Believe That Any Type Of Intervention That Prevents Pregnancy Is Unacceptable… “For Christians who believe that life begins at implantation, methods that disrupt an implanted pregnancy are abortifacient and, therefore, not acceptable. These may include the drug ulipristal (Ella, which blocks the action of progesterone) and mifepristone (part of medical abortion protocols). The mechanism of action of both drugs appears to be embryocidal, but they are recommended as emergency contraception (EC). EC is universally promoted alongside other types of contraception.49,50,51 Conversely, for Christians who believe that life begins at conception, contraceptive methods that prevent or interfere with implantation and therefore indirectly embryocidal are unacceptable.” [Christian Journal for Global Health, 10/23/17]

…And Actively Discourages Promoting All Birth Control Methods Except Fertility Awareness. “Do not promote any contraceptive technology that is life-destroying. Encourage the use of free or very low-cost, low-tech methods (such as Fertility Awareness) which do not require outside inputs, have low or no side effects, require shared responsibility, and for which there is no financial incentive or profit motive.” [Christian Journal for Global Health, 10/23/17]

Wubbenhorst’s Religious Rejection Of Birth Control Is Very Concerning Considering Her Position At USAID’s Bureau For Global Health. “Further, God gave human beings the power, through the act of marriage (sex) to procreate immortal human life in His image and likeness. This blessing and responsibility was given to us before the Fall. Our understanding of how to prevent pregnancy came to us after the Fall and was tainted by our fallen nature. In light of this, as fallen creatures, we need to exert the greatest caution in promoting the use of technology in a context that could not only damage or destroy the image of God in other human beings, but ultimately undermine their societies and cultures.” [Christian Journal for Global Health, 10/23/17]

Wubbenhorst Was A Member Of The Anti- Women’s Health, U.S. Delegation At The Nairobi Summit Commemorating The 25th Anniversary Of The International Conference On Population And Development

The Trump Administration’s Agenda At The Anniversary Summit Was An Antithesis To The Progress Made At The Original Summit, Which Championed Sexual And Reproductive Health and Rights. “It is disconcerting that the delegation representing the U.S. government—the largest bilateral donor to global health programs—would seek to undermine its own longstanding efforts to advance global health and attempt to rewrite history by calling for the dilution of the rights of women, girls and marginalized groups. Universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights were, in fact, enshrined in the 1994 Cairo Program of Action, which acknowledged comprehensive access to health information and quality services as critical to sustainable development. The progress made in the past 25 years is attributable to investments in rights-based interventions including comprehensive sexuality education, contraceptive method choice and the liberalization of abortion laws, and the inequities that persist will never be remedied without full recognition of these rights.” [PAI, 11/18/19]

Members Of The United States Delegation Represented The Overarching Anti-Reproductive Health Care Ethos Of The Trump Administration. “The U.S. delegation at the Nairobi Summit was composed of a veritable rogues gallery, who in their private capacities, before they joined the Trump-Pence administration as political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Agency for International Development, were some of the most extreme anti-choice, anti-contraception, abstinence-only activists including, most notably:

  • Valerie Huber, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Global Affairs, HHS—former President of Ascend (previously known as the National Abstinence Education Association) for ten years until 2017 and manager of the abstinence education program of the Ohio Department of Health before that, who has sought in her latest government position to take her failed abstinence-only policy prescription global after rebranding it as ‘sexual risk avoidance education’;
  • Diane Foley, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs, HHS—prior to being put in charge of Title X, the nation’s domestic family planning program serving 4 million low-income women annually, served as president of Life Network which ran two ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ (a.k.a. ‘fake clinics’) in Colorado and has presided at HHS in the roll-out of the domestic Gag Rule earlier this year that placed onerous new restrictions on eligibility for federal family planning funds;
  • Bethany Kozma, Senior Adviser for Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment at USAID—anti-transgender rights advocate who famously declared the United States to be a ‘pro-life nation’ while serving as a U.S. delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women meeting in March 2018; and
  • Monique Wubbenhorst—Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Global Health, USAID—previously a practicing ob-gyn on the faculty of Duke University School of Medicine who raised the question ‘Should Evangelical Christian Organizations Support International Family Planning?’ in an article in the Christian Journal of Global Health with her theologian husband and seemed to answer ‘maybe,’ but with a lot of caveats including avoiding embracing the dreaded ‘contraceptive mentality,’ an old anti-choice bugaboo.

Heaven forbid that the representatives of the U.S. government at the summit would actually support the family planning and reproductive health programs they run—and that the career technical staff who do the day-in, day-out work of administering the programs would be essential members of the delegation to the summit.” [PAI, 11/18/19]

At The Summit, Delegation Members Attended Sessions Facilitated By Anti-LGBTQ And Anti-Abortion Extremist Hate Groups... “When not rounding up endorsements for the joint statement, U.S. delegation members occupied their time participating in the anti-SRHR opposition’s side session series sponsored in part by extremist U.S. organizations, including Family Watch International and C-FAM, both designated as anti-LGBT hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and CitizenGO, which doxed the Kenyan diplomat who was leading negotiations at the UN Commission on the Status of Women earlier this year by deluging her with thousands of hostile text messages.” [PAI, 11/18/19]

…The Sessions Focused On Promoting The Global Gag Rule And Abstinence-Based Sex Education, And Providing Guidance For Faith-Based Groups To Apply For USAID Funding. “In particular, U.S. delegation members were featured at three sessions: a session billed as a ‘high-level intergovernmental panel’ on the topic of ‘Protecting Life in Global Health Policies,’ a title mimicking the official name of the Trump-Pence administration’s expanded Global Gag Rule, with ‘statements by ministers and high-level officials’ from the U.S., Brazil, Hungary, and Senegal; a workshop by USAID and HHS officials on ‘Applying for a Grant with USAID,’ presumably to help faith-based organizations to obtain funding from a ‘new partnership initiative,’ which is being bankrolled in large part by the reprogramming of about $20 million of the congressionally earmarked FY 2018 contribution to the UN Population Fund, withheld as a result of the imposition of the Kemp-Kasten amendment; and a presentation entitled ‘Empowering Youth: Sexual Risk Avoidance Education and Optimal Adolescent Health Policies’ by unnamed U.S. government officials.” [PAI, 11/18/19]

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