President Donald Trump announced Friday that he has appointed Charmaine Yoest, an anti-choice activist and former president of pro-life organization Americans United for Life, to the Department of Health and Human Services where she will serve as assistant secretary of public affairs, Politico reports.
Yoest's history of working with Americans United for Life, which has worked in previous years to advance anti-abortion laws at the state level, already has women's health advocates and Democratic lawmakers concerned about what her appointment could mean for women.
"Ms. Yoest has a long record of seeking to undermine women’s access to health care and safe, legal abortion by distorting the facts, and her selection shows yet again that this administration is pandering to extreme conservatives and ignoring the millions of men and women nationwide who support women’s constitutionally protected health care rights and don’t want to go backward," Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, told Politico in a statement.
According to the Washington Post, Yoest has frequently championed the idea that abortion is harmful to women and that anti-abortion laws protect women, and many abortion rights groups have accused her of using her concern for women to mask her agenda of ultimately restricting women's access to safe abortions.
This isn't the first time that the Trump administration has taken aim at reproductive rights, as the president has previously vowed to defund Planned Parenthood unless the organization stopped providing abortions - and it likely won't be the last.