The onslaught of hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees continues today (January 18) as Representative Tom Price (R-Ga.), his choice for secretary of Health and Human Services, appears before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension.
The hearing started at 10 a.m. ET, but the real show began 15 minutes before, when a coalition of activists delivered petitions signed by more than 510,000 people who do not want Price to control women’s access to abortions. The 15-group coalition included: Advocates for Youth, All* Above All, MoveOn, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Women’s Law Center, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and UltraViolet.
— Renee Bracey Sherman (@RBraceySherman) January 18, 2017
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund gives Price—an orthopaedic surgeon—a zero rating, which is reserved for legislators whose voting records it feels are in opposition to women’s health rights. In fact, in he voted to defund Planned Parenthood—the nation’s largest provider of health services for women with low incomes—in 2015.
And as an op-ed in The New York Times explains, Price opposed a law that would protect women from being discriminated against at work for using birth control or having an abortion, and co-sponsored a 2005 bill that would have defined life as beginning at conception—making abortion and emergency contraception illegal.
He also opposes free birth control, and told ThinkProgess in 2012 that women have never struggled to afford contraception. Meanwhile, a 2015 study from the Guttmacher Institute found that 44 percent of poor women rely on publicly-funded clinics for their contraceptive services, and nonprofit Population Reference Bureau reports that people of color are twice as likely to have low incomes in the United States than their White counterparts.
“Representative Price doesn’t think we should have insurance coverage for birth control or abortion—particularly if a woman is poor. He wants to take away Obamacare, and all the groundbreaking benefits and protections it brought to women. And he wants to take away our ability to make our own decisions about abortion,” Destiny Lopez, co-director of All* Above All, said in a press release about today’s action. “The Secretary of HHS is charged with oversight of our nation’s health programs—yet Price has spent his career ignoring or attacking healthcare for half the population: women.”
Watch Price’s hearing live below, or from the beginning via C-Span.