April 25, 2019 Press Release

New Report: Heritage Foundation Serves As “Pipeline of Hate to the Trump Administration”

Anti-LGBTQ, anti-birth control policies mirror those of hate group Family Research Council

04.25.19 – Despite painting itself as a think tank of establishment conservatives, The Heritage Foundation spouts hateful ideas and policies that are detrimental to LGBTQ individuals, non-Christians, women, people of color and low-income workers, according to a new report released today from Equity Forward. Many of these harmful policies mirror those of the Family Research Council, a hate group, and have been adopted by Secretary Alex Azar’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Today’s report comes as HHS is expected to roll back Obama-era rules that would expand the ability of health care workers to refuse care to a variety of individuals, including LGBTQ people and women who have had abortions; the rules would also allow health care workers to refuse to provide birth control. Heritage has long supported this type of discrimination.  

“Don’t be fooled by its facade of mainstream conservatism: The Heritage Foundation serves as a pipeline of hate to the Trump administration,”said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward. “From opposing people having access to birth control to serving as a safe haven for harmful and homophobic polices against LGBTQ people, Heritage is cut from the same cloth as hate groups including the Family Research Council.

“These toxic and dangerous policy positions should make Heritage a pariah in Washington circles. Yet Heritage has been given unfettered access to the Trump administration, with many of its alumni heading straight to our nation’s health department in order to deny people equitable access to health care. Secretary Azar, stop relying on anti-abortion, anti-women, anti-LGBTQ bigots to run your health department.”  

Equity Forward’s report not only details the extremist policies covertly espoused by Heritage — including opposing access to birth control via Obamacare and supporting foster care agencies’ ability to discriminate against LGBTQ and non-Christian families — but also the deep and direct ties Heritage has to the Trump administration. Specifically, Equity Forward has identified six current staffers at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) who have worked at or have close ties to Heritage, including Roger Severino, the notorious transphobic bigot who has made a career out of his opposition to reproductive and LGBTQ rights, most recently as the head of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS.

These ties to Heritage have very real consequences: for example, in August 2018, Heritage wrote a commentary criticizing an HHS contract which relied on fetal tissue for disease research; six weeks later, HHS cancelled that very contract and announced an ongoing audit of all fetal tissue research contracts, putting millions of dollars of lifesaving research at risk.  

More information on the HHS staff with ties to Heritage can be found at HHS Watch, an extensive library of research maintained by Equity Forward on nearly 50 political appointees at our nation's health department who are hostile to reproductive health care.