Outraged About Trump’s Latest Cabinet Pick? Here’s What You Can Do

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Women who support reproductive rights across the country are expressing outrage over one of Trump's latest Cabinet picks — for good reason. The president-elect announced on Tuesday that he's nominating Georgia Rep. Tom Price to serve as secretary of health and human services. So, why are women so worried? In addition to opposing abortion access and Obamacare, the doctor and GOP lawmaker has repeatedly voted to defund critical health services, and questioned whether low-income women need access to birth control. Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards warned that Price "poses a grave threat to women’s health in this country." "If Price had his way, millions of women could be cut off from Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services like birth control, cancer screenings, and STD tests," she said in a statement. "From his plan to take no-copay birth control away from 55 million women and allow insurance companies to charge women more for the same health coverage, to his opposition to safe and legal abortion, Price could take women back decades." A statement from NARAL Pro-Choice America Senior Vice President Sasha Bruce also denounced Price’s nomination. “Tom Price is someone who has made clear throughout his career that he does not trust women to make our own decisions about our health care. Instead, he wants to punish us for the choices we make for our bodies, our futures, and our families,” the statement read. Other reproductive rights groups joined in to condemn Price's nomination, including All* Above All, which advocates for low-income women, and Emily's List, which works to put pro-choice women in office. "Representative Price has a lot to say about what women shouldn't have," Destiny Lopez, the co-director of All* Above All, told Refinery29 by email. "The secretary of HHS is charged with oversight of our nation's health programs — yet Price has spent his career ignoring or attacking health care for half the population. This nomination is yet another signal that Trump plans to make good on the threats he made during the campaign to punish women and take away our health care." Price, a staunch anti-abortion advocate who has a 0% rating from Planned Parenthood on supporting women's health, has historically been no friend to reproductive choice. Over his time in the House, he's voted to restrict abortion access, ban abortion after 20 weeks, and to prevent medical students from learning how to provide abortions. Beyond that, he also voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Price has also been a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, including its mandate that contraception be covered at no cost. In a 2012 interview with ThinkProgress, Price rejected the suggestion that low-income women would have difficulty accessing contraception without the ACA’s mandate that it be covered at no cost. “Bring me one woman who has been left behind,” he said. “Bring me one. There’s not one. The fact of the matter is, this is a trampling of religious freedom and religious liberty in this country.” According to a 2013 study from the Guttmacher Institute, more than 19 million American women were in need of publicly funded contraception in 2010, the year Obamacare took effect. Lopez also disagreed with Price's comment. "The truth is, thanks to the ACA, more than 55 million women now have coverage for birth control without copay," she said. "Before the Obamacare birth control benefit, women were paying hundreds of dollars a year out of pocket for contraception — if Price thinks that's not significant, he really is out of touch with struggling American families." Beyond reproductive rights, the Department of Health and Human Services also covers a number of other programs, like the Food and Drug Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, giving Price oversight of everything from food safety to public health research. So, what can you do if you want to protect reproductive rights? While Trump has the right to nominate members of his Cabinet, many positions — including that of health and human services secretary — must be confirmed by the Senate. That means that you can call your senator (and it is best to call, rather than email or write a letter) to urge them to vote against his confirmation. You can also always put your money where your mouth is — donations to organizations like Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the American Civil Liberties Union will go a long way as advocacy groups plan how to push back against the curtailing of reproductive freedoms. "We need everyone — young women included — to call on our elected officials to restore and protect reproductive health care, including keeping contraception affordable and ending the bans that deny abortion coverage," Lopez said. She called on advocates to keep fighting: "It's going to be an uphill battle with this administration, but we're not going to stop until each of us can get the care we need, without politicians standing in the way."

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