Search form

Group 4 Created with Sketch.
Back to HHS Watch
Steven Valentine

Steven Valentine

Chief of Staff, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health

Steven Richards Valentine, Jr. joined the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH) as an Associate Director for Policy in January 2017 and was quickly promoted to Deputy Chief of Staff the following November. In August 2018, he was promoted once again to chief of staff, taking Valerie Huber’s former role. An inactive attorney, Valentine got his career start at the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List and worked on the Hill for an anti-abortion representative until joining Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

HOW THEIR ROLE AFFECTS ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH) has purview over several offices that are making it harder for people in the U.S. to obtain birth control and accurate information about their reproductive healthcare. Valentine has been credited with having “taken the lead” in reversing the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) $213 million Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and had “directed [Director of the Office of Adolescent Health, Evelyn] Kappeler to halt the review process for the grants.”

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT OF NOTE

Legislative Assistant, Rep. Chris Smith, 2014 – 2017

Staff Assistant, Rep. Chris Smith, 2011 – 2014

Interim Legislative Director, Susan B. Anthony List, 2011

Valentine also held internships at Susan B. Anthony List, the Senate Republican Steering Committee, Bob McDonnell for Governor, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Brownback for President.

TIES TO OTHER ANTI-CHOICE EXTREMISTS

Valerie Huber:

Huber is Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Population Affairs, HHS. Valentine was her deputy chief of staff. Together along with the former head of HHS’s family planning programs, Teresa Manning, they are reported to have made the decision to eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. They did not involve the Office of Adolescent Health with the decision.

Rep. Chris Smith:

Valentine worked for Rep. Chris Smith from 2014 – 2017, during which time Smith sponsored a bill similar to the domestic gag rule Smith and other representatives are again demanding and HHS will likely implement. Smith said about the proposed domestic gag rule: “For far too long, the Title X program has been a slush fund for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood dismembers or chemically poisons a baby to death every two minutes – killing over 7 million innocent children since 1973. I hope that the Administration will finally turn off this funding stream for Planned Parenthood — ‘Child Abuse Incorporated.’”

Sam Brownback:

Sam Brownback — currently U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom — is the former governor of Kansas, as well as a former senator and congressional representative. Brownback is vigorously anti-abortion and has pushed policies harmful to women’s access to abortion both in Kansas and on the national stage. Valentine worked on Brownback’s short-lived Republican presidential campaign. 

Billy Valentine:

Valentine's brother is Billy Valentine. Billy, who is currently Vice President of Public Policy for Susan B. Anthony List, where he has worked since 2010, recently lobbied HHS on issues including the Title X program, a program Steven has purview over as COS at OASH. The brothers attended the same college and have both worked for Sam Brownback and Rep. Chris Smith.

Natalie Valentine:

Steven’s sister-in-law Natalie works for SBA List affiliate Charlotte Lozier Institute, where she works on fundraising and events for SBA List. She previously worked for Students for Life America and Sam Brownback’s presidential campaign.
 

HIGHLIGHTS

Valentine Grew Up In The Anti-Abortion Movement

Steven Valentine has spent his entire professional career fighting against reproductive rights, first at SBA List, then on the Hill for pro-life caucus chair Rep. Chris Smith and now at HHS. This is not surprising considering he comes from a family steeped in the movement. His brother Billy is a long-time executive at SBA List, and an alumni profile about Billy shows how tied the Valentine family is to the anti-abortion movement: “Fighting the pro-life battle comes naturally for Billy, whose parents were very active in the pro-life movement. ‘We were inundated in politics,’ he remembers, and that exposure helped set the course for his future.”

Steven’s father Rick was Executive Director of Americans United For Life in the early 1980s, and he was described as one of the attorneys who “engineered a strategy to chip away at Roe’s reach and scope, aiming for reversal.” Rick also wrote on his LinkedIn that while at the Department of Justice, he was “Co-Counsel on the Briefs for the United States in two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including the first to call for the reversal of Roe v. Wade.”

THE WHOLE STORY

Steven Valentine Uses His Influential Role At HHS To Reduce Access To Reproductive Health Care

Valentine’s Positions At HHS Have All Had Oversight Of The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program And The Title X Family Planning Program… 

Valentine Has Been Promoted Twice Since He Was First Hired To HHS Just Last March. On March 5, 2017, Valentine was formally appointed to be Associate Director for Policy in HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH). In November 2017, Valentine became the Deputy Chief of Staff of OASH. On August 20, 2018 Valentine was promoted to Chief of Staff of the Assistant Secretary for Health. [OGE Form 278e, filed 1/13/17; LinkedIn, accessed 4/2/18; HHS Public Affairs Twitter, 8/20/18]

…In June 2017, Valentine Guided The Repeal Of HHS’ Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program

Valentine Took The Lead In Reversing The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program In June 2017. “The Trump administration’s abrupt cancellation of a federal program to prevent teen pregnancy last year was directed by political appointees over the objections of career experts in the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the program, according to internal notes and emails obtained by NBC News. The trove shows three appointees with strict pro-abstinence beliefs — including Valerie Huber, the then-chief of staff for the department's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health — guided the process to end a program many medical professionals credit with helping to bring the nation’s teen pregnancy rate to an all-time low…In a June 21 note by Kappeler, Steven Valentine, Huber’s deputy, is described as having “taken the lead” in reversing the program. Valentine directed Kappeler to halt the review process for the grants, the notes say.” [NBC News, 3/20/18]

…And While Steven Was Rising Up The Ranks, His Brother Billy Was Lobbying HHS On Issues Overseen By His Younger Brother… 

In 2017, Billy Valentine Lobbied HHS On Behalf Of Susan B. Anthony List Regarding The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. Between October 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017, Billy Valentine lobbied the Department of Health and Human Services, the White House Office and Congress regarding the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, on behalf of Susan B. Anthony List. [Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed 05/14/18; Politico, 5/22/18]

From 2017 To 2018, Billy Valentine Lobbied HHS On Behalf Of SBA List Regarding The Title X Program. From October 2017 through March 2018, Billy Valentine lobbied the Department of Health and Human Services, the White House Office and Congress regarding the Title X program. Steven Valentine is the current Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, which oversees the department in charge of Title X family planning grants. [Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed 05/14/18]

SBA List Reported Its Biggest Federal Lobbying Push Ever In The First Quarter Of 2018. SBA List spent $220,000 in the first three months of 2018 on federal lobbying activities, representing the largest amount the group has ever spent on lobbying in any single quarter since registering at the federal level in 2012. [Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed 5/14/18

Valentine Is An Anti-Abortion Hardliner Who Continues To Have Close Connections With Outside Anti-Choice Groups

Prior To Joining HHS, Valentine Worked Solely For Anti-Abortion Groups And Officials 

In 2011 Valentine served as the Interim Legislative Director of Susan B. Anthony List. From February 2011 to September 2011, Valentine served as Interim Legislative Director of Susan B. Anthony List where he “researched past and pending legislation…drafted action alerts to organization members and activists, and drafted talking points for policymakers and activists.” [Steven Valentine, Resume, accessed via American Oversight]

  • At The Same Time Steven Worked At SBA List, His Brother Billy Was The Director Of Policy And Programs For The Anti-Abortion Group. “One of the most memorable moments of Billy Valentine’s career happened at the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., while he was advocating for the implementation of a 20-week limit on abortions. 'They actually showed an ultrasound of my second son, who was 20 weeks at the time, during the debate on the House floor,' says Valentine ’09, the director of Policy and Programs for the pro-life Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List. The House voted to support the limit. Fighting the pro-life battle comes naturally for Billy, whose parents were very active in the pro-life movement. 'We were inundated in politics,' he remembers, and that exposure helped set the course for his future. In high school, he began interning at the SBA List, whose mission is to promote the election of pro-life leaders—especially women—and to pass laws that save lives.” [Billy Valentine Alumni Outcomes, accessed 10/16/18]

Valentine Was The Staff Assistant And Then Legislative Assistant To Anti-Choice Congressman Chris Smith For Seven Years. From September 2011 to 2014, Steven Valentine served as a staff assistant to Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey in his Washington, D.C. office. From January 2014 to January 2017, Chris Smith served as a Legislative Assistant to Rep. Chris Smith. [Steven Valentine, Resume, accessed via American Oversight]

Valentine And SBA List Staff Continued Contact After He Joined HHS…

Valentine and SBA List Policy Director Autumn Christensen had a phone call on November 2, 2017. On November 2, 2017, Autumn Christensen from SBA List asked Steven Valentine if he had “a couple minutes to talk?” and Valentine responded saying “Yep.” [EF FOIA Response, Page 257, accessed 8/16/18] 

Valentine Received Direct Suggestions For “Pro Life” Candidates From Anti-Choice Groups To Lead HHS’ Birth Control Program…  

SBA List Policy Directory Autumn Christensen Sent An Email To An AAPLOG Staff Member Requesting Candidates For The Deputy Assistant Secretary For The Office Of Population Affairs, Specifically Requesting “A Female Candidate With Medical Or Public Health Experience.” On January 15, 2018, SBA List Policy Directory Autumn Christensen sent an email to Donna Harrison of American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists  (AAPLOG) and Chuck Donovan from the Charlotte Lozier Institute with the subject line “Confidential: Seeking experienced MD or Public Health Official to run federal Family Planning Program,” which she used to forward resumes for the position to Steven Valentine at HHS. Christensen wrote in her email that “It is our hope that we can put forward a female candidate with medical or public health experience. A physician or state government official with management experience would be ideal.” [EF FOIA Response, Pages 214-215, accessed 8/16/18] 

  • Christensen Wrote That “Candidates Have To Strike The Careful Balance Of Being Strongly Pro-Life But Also Willing To Carry Out The Requirements Of A Family Planning Program Required By Law…” Christensen’s email stated that “candidates have to strike the careful balance of being strongly pro-life but also willing to carry out the requirements of a family planning program required by law to distribute a ‘broad range’ of contraceptive drugs and devices. [EF FOIA Response, Pages 192-193, accessed 8/16/18] 
  • Christensen Noted That “With The Right Person In Place,” SBA List Saw “Strong Opportunities To Redirect The Program Away From Funding Planned Parenthood…” [EF FOIA Response, Pages 192-193, accessed 8/16/18] 

On January 17, 2018, Christensen forwarded a resume for the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Population Affairs position to Steven Valentine. [EF FOIA Response, Pages 214-215, accessed 8/16/18] 

…SBA List Also Provided Valentine With Various “Fact Sheets” And Documents

SBA List Policy Director Autumn Christensen Emailed Valentine Several Documents And “Fact Sheets” Regarding Reallocating Funds From Planned Parenthood. On May 10, 2017, Autumn Christensen from SBA List sent Steven Valentine a document titled “Reallocating Planned Parenthoods Federal Funding to Comprehensive Health Centers.” In the email, Christensen apologized for the document being “a little hodgepodge” and expressed that she would like to make a document just for Valentine. Christensen also sent Valentine a fact sheet of “Planned Parenthood and Eugenics.” Steven responded to the documents saying “thank you!” [EF FOIA Response, Pages 68-77; 238-249, accessed 8/16/18]