Search form

Group 4 Created with Sketch.
Back to HHS Watch
Paula Stannard

Paula Stannard

White House Senior Advisor; Senior Counsel to the Secretary, Office of the Secretary

Paula Stannard is an attorney with years of previous experience working at HHS under President George W. Bush. She came to Trump’s transition team from a law firm that has spent millions lobbying for health care companies. While there, she represented Christian institutions in court challenging the Affordable Care Act mandate that employers provide birth control at no cost to employees.


Stannard has worked to roll back the ACA birth control mandate. Internal the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) email records suggest Stannard was involved in the rollout of the Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) conscience protection regulation. Stannard is “spearheading” the effort to potentially cut funding for lifesaving research programs alongside Brett Giroir.


Volunteer Healthcare Policy Implementation Lead, Trump for America, 2016 – 2017 

Counsel, Health Care Practice Group/Project Attorney, Health Care Practice Group, Alston & Bird LLP, 2010 – 2016 

Acting General Counsel/Counselor to the General Counsel, HHS, 2001 – 2009 

Law Clerk, Honorable J.L. Edmonson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, 1990 – 1991


Andrew Bremberg:

Bremberg, now Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council, worked at HHS during the George W. Bush Administration with Stannard. The two then worked on Trump’s transition team for HHS together. Bremberg’s work was praised by Mike Pence during a speech at a White House reception for March for Life participants in January 2018.

Scott Lloyd:

Lloyd noted in his resume that Stannard recruited him for Trump’s HHS transition team.


Stannard Has Protested The Constitutionality Of The Affordable Care Act:

In 2012, she coauthored an article in the American Journal of Law & Medicine with law professor Richard A. Epstein on the ACA that concluded, ‘…the only way to avoid the risk of chaos in the health insurance market is to repeal or strike down this legislation, leaving it to Congress to devise a plan that better addresses the desire to improve access, quality, and cost in healthcare systems.’ [American Journal of Law and Medicine, 2012]


At HHS, Paula Stannard Has Been Working To Appeal To Anti-Abortion Activists By Entertaining Changes To Potentially Life-Saving Programs

Stannard, Alongside Brett Giroir, Is Helping To Lead The Efforts To Change HHS’ Fetal Tissue Practices, Including The Abrupt Cancellation Of A Longstanding Contract With A Fetal Tissue Provider. “The Department of Health and Human Services on Friday will hold the first in a series of ‘listening sessions’ on the topic of human fetal tissue research, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the meeting…. The effort is being spearheaded by agency officials including Brett Giroir and Paula Stannard, two top advisers to health secretary Alex Azar, and will include NIH representatives, sources familiar with the meetings said.” [STAT News, 11/14/18]

Throughout Her Career, Stannard Continually Defended Anti-Abortion Policies And Proposals

Stannard Defended HHS’ Religious Exemption To The Birth Control Mandate 

October 2017: Stannard Defended HHS Broad Religious Exemption To The Birth Control Mandate, Saying It Would Affect Roughly 120,000 Women. ‘The Trump administration announced Friday that it will exempt employers from providing insurance coverage for contraception if it conflicts with their religious or moral beliefs, scaling back a rule created under the Obama administration…Paula Stannard, counsel at HHS, estimated that roughly 120,000 women would be affected by the rule, given the companies that had filed lawsuits against the Obama administration. The official noted, as well, that some organizations object to only certain types of contraception, which she said would reduce the number of people affected. She and Severino estimated that 99.9 percent of women would not be affected.’ [Washington Examiner, 10/6/17]  

From 2001 – 2009, Stannard Worked In The HHS General Counsel’s Office… 

From 2001-2009, Stannard Served As Counselor To The General Counsel And Then As Deputy General Counsel At HHS.  [Paula Stannard LinkedIn Page

…Where She Reportedly Worked On Efforts To Pass The ‘Born-Alive Infants’ Protection Act,’ Which Was Thought To Be A Tool To Discourage Hospitals From Providing Abortion Care… 

Paula Stannard Was Credited As An Integral Part Of Persuading People At HHS To Support The ‘Born-Alive Infants’ Protection Act. Hadley Arkes wrote, ‘In a season of anniversaries, another is coming up soon: Ten years ago, on August 4, there was a gathering in Pittsburgh to see President George W. Bush sign into law the Born-Alive Infants’ Protection Act…It took the art and persistence of two of my former students, Eric Treene (at the Department of Justice) and Paula Stannard, deputy counsel at Health and Human Services (HHS) to persuade people at HHS that any child surviving an abortion in a hospital was indeed now a ‘person’ (or ‘patient’) under the care of that hospital. The anniversary coming up is a melancholy marker. For this simplest of all Acts may be the most potent lever that could be used now by the federal government to push hospitals and clinics out of the business of abortion, and yet the Bush Administration made only a half-hearted attempt to enforce it.’ [Hadley Arkes, The Catholic Thing, 7/31/12

  • The Law Was Designed As A “Scare Tactic” To Discourage Women From Seeking Abortions. “In contrast, The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would not only roll back this carefully crafted bipartisan agreement reached in 2002, but it would also add new criminal penalties against doctors and clinicians as a scare tactic to discourage women from seeking safe, legal abortion.” [Guttmacher, 3/14/16]

…And In 2015 Stannard Joined A Working Group To Restore Penalties Of The So-Called ‘Born-Alive Infants Protection Act’   

Stannard Was Part Of A Working Group To Restore Penalties That Had Been Stripped From The Born Alive Infants Protection Act. ‘Readers of the Human Life Review probably know that the Born-Alive Infants’ Protection Act was my bill; that it sprang from a draft I wrote for the first George Bush in 1988. It was the ‘most modest first step’ in legislating on abortion, to protect the child who survived abortion, and plant premises in the law: Even the child marked for abortion had a claim to the protection of the law. And from that point we would ask what was different about that same child five minutes earlier, and then five days, five months before birth. The bill was finally introduced in 2001 and enacted in 2002. But it was a pure teaching bill; the penalties had never been restored, and without those penalties, it became virtually impossible to enforce…That gave us the new moment. And so a year ago, in September, I invited a group of accomplished friends in Washington to form a Working Group to restore the penalties that had been stripped from the Act. The group included my former student, Paula Stannard, who had been deputy general counsel of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush, Ed Whelan of the Ethics & Public Policy Center, Mary Harned and Bill Saunders from Americans United for Life, pro-life veterans Bill Wichterman and Chuck Donovan, and the activist Star Parker.’ [Human Life Review, 1/20/16

See More