Search form

Group 4 Created with Sketch.
Back to HHS Watch

Robert Charrow

General Counsel, Department of Health and Human Services

Robert Charrow is a Washington, DC attorney who served in HHS’ office of general counsel from 1985-1989 and then in private practice from 1989 to 2018.


The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) provides legal advice and representation on a wide range of issues, including issues related to reproductive healthcare and unaccompanied minors. OGC also supports the the implementation of the the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) programs by providing legal advice to the different divisions and agencies within the department. Specifically, OGC advises HHS’ Refugee Resettlement program and its Civil Rights department, which have both been under intense scrutiny and taken to court as a result of their legally questionable and immoral actions.


Principal Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, 2002 – 2017

Partner, Crowell & Moring, 1989 – 2002

Deputy & Principal Deputy General Counsel, HHS, 1985 – 1989


Matt Bowman:

Matt Bowman is Charrow’s Deputy General Counsel. Bowman has made a career out of fighting to roll back reproductive rights and previously worked as a full-time anti-choice activist for years, during which time he was arrested for protesting gay-friendly and reproductive rights policies.


As General Counsel, Robert Charrow Has Purview Over HHS’ Rollback Of Civil And Reproductive Rights  

Charrow Employs Matt Bowman, The Controversial HHS Official Who Has Made A Career Out Of Trying To Limit Access To Reproductive Health Care Both In And Out Of The Courts

Charrow Employs And Oversees Matt Bowman, The Deputy General Counsel Who Was A Principal Author Of Federal Rules Rolling Back Requirements For Employers To Include Birth Control Coverage In Their Health Insurance Plans. “A principal author of the rules, Matthew Bowman, a top lawyer at the Department of Health and Human Services, represented March for Life in 2014 when he was a lawyer at the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy group.” [New York Times, 7/10/17]

Under Charrow’s Legal Counsel, OCR Director Roger Severino Created An Internal Division To Facilitate Discriminate Against Transgender Individuals

On January 17, 2018, HHS’ OCR Announced A New Conscience Protection Division, To Protect Health Workers With “Moral Or Religious Objections To Performing Certain Procedures, Including Things Like Abortions Or Sex Reassignment Surgery For Transgender Patients.” “The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights is creating a new division to protect health workers with moral or religious objections to performing certain procedures, including things like abortions or sex reassignment surgery for transgender patients. The new division is called the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, and will be officially announced Thursday morning at an event at HHS. According to an invitation to the event provided to BuzzFeed News, the division will specialize ‘in enforcement of and compliance with laws that protect conscience and free exercise of religion, and that prohibit coercion and discrimination.’ HHS did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment.” [Buzzfeed, 1/17/18; HHS Press Release, 1/18/18]

The Center For Reproductive Rights And The National Women’s Law Center Sued HHS After It Announced It Was Launching A Conscience And Religious Freedom Division Of The Office For Civil Rights. “Advocates on Thursday sued the Trump administration after officials refused to release records related to a new division within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) tasked with enforcing laws allowing for health-care discrimination.  Attorneys filed the lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., on behalf of the Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). The lawsuit names HHS as a defendant. The Trump administration in January announced it was launching a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of HHS. Roger Severino, the staunchly anti-LGBTQ head of the HHS civil rights office, said the new division would ‘help guarantee that victims of unlawful discrimination’—health-care providers with objections to caring for disproportionately vulnerable patients—’find justice.’” [Rewire, 7/20/18]

See More