Tom Price, President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, has a well-documented history of anti-science and anti-reproductive health views that, if acted upon, will significantly harm and undermine the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women in the United States and globally.
He is a member of a medical association that has falsely, and repeatedly, taken positions that contradict evidence-based medicine on numerous issues, including denying the existence of HIV/AIDS and claiming that abortion causes illness. As a Congressman, he took numerous actions to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion and to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which ensures access to contraception. As Secretary of HHS, Price will have significantly more power than he did as a Congressman, and he will be able to take his attacks on health, rights, and science to a new level.
If confirmed as the leader of the agency overseeing US global health policy and commitments, Price will play a significant role at the World Health Assembly (WHA), the governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO sets global standards and guidance for sexual and reproductive health care, including crises such as Zika, which could be subject to political meddling from the US Government if Price’s ideological positions hold sway.
In addition, the WHO and WHA will monitor and guide implementation of the health-related aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals, a globally agreed comprehensive framework with specific targets to reduce inequality. Universal access to sexual and reproductive health services and reproductive rights is one commitment that the US will fail to meet if the contraceptive mandate in the national health care law is removed and funding is cut to Planned Parenthood, which faces a national defunding push.