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William A. Estrada

Conscience and Religious Freedom (CRF) Analyst, Office for Civil Rights

Prior to joining the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), William Anthony “Will” Estrada worked as an attorney, lobbyist and organizer for homeschooling and anti-choice religious advocacy organizations. A Republican, he also worked on the Trump transition team in 2016.

HOW THEIR ROLE AFFECTS ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws, health privacy laws, and conscience laws. The Washington Post reported that the Office for Civil Rights under Trump “has been greatly strengthening and expanding protections for health care providers who have religious- or conscience-based objections to procedures such as abortion.” It went on to say that “the makeover appears radical, one that critics worry will jeopardize the care of pregnant women and transgender individuals, as well as others who could be denied certain procedures.”

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT OF NOTE

Chairman, Loudoun County Republican Committee (Virginia), 2016 – 2018

Pro Bono Attorney, Good Samaritan Advocates, 2012 – 2018

Chairman of the Board and Board Member Good Samaritan Advocates, 2016 – 2018 and 2014 – 2018

Director of the Federal PAC, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), 2007 – 2018

Director of Federal Relations, Home School Legal Defense Association, 2006 – 2018

Member, Agency Action Team, Trump-Pence Campaign Presidential Transition Team, 2016

Director, Generation Joshua (“The vision of Generation Joshua is to assist parents to raise up the next generation of Christian leaders and citizens, equipped to positively influence the political processes of today and tomorrow.”; it is a facet of HSLDA), 2007 – 2012

Legal Assistant, Paralegal, Home School Legal Defense Association, 2004 – 2006

TIES TO OTHER ANTI-CHOICE EXTREMISTS

Rick Santorum:

Estrada publicly praised former Senator Santorum during his 2012 presidential run due to Santorum’s stances favoring home schooling and his opposition to abortion and gay marriage. Estrada said that Santorum’s willingness to speak up for what’s true and not back down on these issues won his support.

HIGHLIGHTS

Estrada Penned A 2016 Blog Post Endorsing Betsy DeVos For Secretary Of Education, Citing Her Donations To Anti-Choice Groups As A Positive:

“The DeVos family have used their wealth to support organizations such as The Heritage Foundation (which led the fight against the Common Core State Standards Initiative), Alliance Defending Freedom (which fights for religious freedom), and many other limited-government, pro-Constitution organizations.” [hslda.org, 12/6/16]

THE WHOLE STORY

A Youth Organization William Estrada Worked At For Years Pushes Its Anti-Choice, Anti-LGBTQ Agenda On Youth Members And Uses Scare Tactics To Bolster Membership

William Estrada Worked At The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) For More Than A Decade Before Joining HHS In 2018. “William A. Estrada, Esq. Director of Federal Relations…Will Estrada has been leading our efforts to defend homeschooling on Capitol Hill since 2006. He is a homeschool graduate who married a homeschool graduate.” [HSLDA, 12/8/15]

  • HSLDA Is A “Small But Fierce Advocacy Group.” “Home School Legal Defense Association, a small but fierce advocacy group based in Purcellville, Virginia.” [ProPublica, 8/27/15]

HSLDA’s Lobbying Efforts Revolve Around “Parental Rights,” “Religious Freedom,” And Combating LGBT Rights. “…The group has three ‘bedrock’ concerns — not only homeschooling, but also religious rights and religious freedom… Initiatives ranging from prekindergarten programs at public schools to the legalization of gay marriage have pushed the HSLDA to action.” [ProPublica, 8/27/15]

  • HSLDA Has A Massive, Extremist National Lobby That Is “Powerful And Scary.” “‘I’ve never seen a lobby more powerful and scary,’ said Ellen Heinitz, the legislative director for Michigan Rep. Stephanie Chang, who ran up against HSLDA backlash when she tried to pass homeschooling regulations a few months ago. ‘They make the anti-vaxxers seem rational.’” [ProPublica, 8/27/15]

HSLDA’s Generation Joshua Trains Students To Elect Pro-Life Candidates, Partners With March For Life. “The feature of our program gets students involved directly in electing pro-life and pro-family candidates.” [hsldaaction.org, accessed 10/24/18]

  • GenJ Partnered With The March for Life For An Event With “Pro-Life Leadership on Capitol Hill” In January 2018. “January 22, 1973 is ingrained in the minds of pro-lifers because on that infamous, historic day, the Supreme Court invalidated 50 state laws and made abortion legal and available on demand throughout the United States; the now-infamous decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. It has been 45 years and 60 million abortions since that decision. On Friday, January 19, 2018, we unite to communicate this common message to the government, the media, and the nation: we testify to the beauty of life — all of it!” [hsldaaction.org, accessed 10/24/18]

HSLDA Convinces Parents To Join By Fear-Mongering. “In 1995, when the organization was first growing into a national power, the HSLDA put out a role-playing guide called “How To Handle Visits From Social Service Agents,” written by former HSLDA attorney Chris Klicka. The social worker in the scene is named Orwell, and he forces his way into the home without a warrant and attempts to strip search the children…LaDonna Sasscer had a similar experience when she was homeschooling her two children in Florida. She was so worried about social workers that she became the legislative liaison for her local homeschooling group, and she was the HSLDA’s main point of contact for lobbying efforts. She said she encouraged people to join the HSLDA by telling them 'scary stories that social workers were going to come and take your children.'” [ProPublica, 8/27/15]