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Rebekah Armstrong

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation (Human Services)

Rebekah Armstrong is a Baylor graduate who began her career as an assistant and advisor to a series of far right-wing representatives. She then worked as a staffer for the House Republican Study Committee before becoming a domestic policy advisor to Vice President Mike Pence. She recently joined HHS as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation (Human Services).

HOW THEIR ROLE AFFECTS ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Legislation develops HHS’ legislative agenda and works with Congress to enact it. The office also supports the implementation of legislation as well as White House initiatives concerning health and human services. As Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation (Human Services), Armstrong helps to form and advocate for the Department’s legislative agenda regarding, among other departments, the Administration for Children and Families, which includes the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). ORR oversees care for unaccompanied minors who enter the United States and aggressively stood in the way of young pregnant women accessing abortion.

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT OF NOTE

Domestic policy advisor to Vice President Mike Pence, for whom she oversaw healthcare-related issues, 2/2017 – 9/2018

Senior legislative assistant to Rep. Paul Gosar, 1/2013 – 10/2013

Health policy advisor to Rep. Michael Burgess, 5/2010 – 1/2013

Intern to Rep. Louie Gohmert, 5/2009 – 6/2009

TIES TO OTHER ANTI-CHOICE EXTREMISTS

The Heritage Foundation:

As a House Republican Study Committee staffer, Armstrong attended two Heritage Foundation-sponsored retreats with the purpose of “[interacting] and [discussing] pertinent policy details with outside leaders.” The Heritage Foundation works to erode abortion rights and birth control access, and is also a proponent of abstinence-only education.

Vice President Mike Pence:

A close ally of extremist groups such as Susan B. Anthony List, Pence has said, “I want to live to see the day that we put the sanctity of life back at the center of American law, and we send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history, where it belongs.” As governor of Indiana, he signed legislation to ban so-called selective abortion, 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.)

During the time that Armstrong worked for Pence, he cast a tie-breaking Senate vote to allow states to withhold Title X funds from Planned Parenthood and other clinics that provide abortions; sought to stop requiring health insurers to include maternity care in their plans; and pushed for the reinstatement of the “global gag rule,” which prohibits the U.S. from aiding international health and educational organizations that discuss abortion.

Rep. Paul Gosar:

Gosar has consistently voted to restrict birth control and abortion access. He has said, “I find it deplorable that our nation’s capital allows the genocide of its unborn children. These procedures undeniably rob the world of a human life in a most cruel fashion – and can often cause severe complications and health risks for the child’s mother. It is worth noting that these procedures are more lucrative to the abortion industry, however. The right thing to do is to ban these procedures.”

Rep. Michael Burgess:

Before voting to ban abortion after 22 weeks, Burgess infamously suggested that fetuses masturbate in utero, saying, “Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful. They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to think they could feel pain?”

Rep. Louie Gohmert:

Gohmert has advocated for outlawing abortion after six weeks, saying, “I remember reading in the Bible, early on, about sacrificing kids for idols. And I thought, ‘Gosh, thank goodness we live in a day where that never happens,’ that people would never be that callous. And then you realize, ‘Wait, that’s what we’re doing with abortions.’ We’re sacrificing kids for the idol of self-centeredness.”