National pro-life leaders are urging President Donald Trump to nominate an HHS secretary who will follow through with the pro-life agenda he initiated from the outset of his presidency.
In a letter to Trump, at least 11 national pro-life leaders reminded the president:
[Y]ou found loyal and effective allies in the pro-life community, and we have appreciated the promises kept such as nominating pro-life judicial nominees, reinstating the Mexico City Policy, and promising to sign the Pain Capable Unborn Protection Act. As you know, personnel is policy, and with a key appointment pending, we join together asking you to appoint a pro-life individual to the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services.
During an interview with Breitbart News, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said pro-life leaders had been “very excited” to have Tom Price as HHS secretary who was a key part of the new pro-life administration.
Price resigned, however, last week following a series of reports that uncovered expensive private flights billed to taxpayers for travel. Trump named Don Wright – the director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion – as acting HHS secretary.
Hawkins says she now has “concerns about names of individuals who may be considered to replace Secretary Price.”
“Obviously, this is a key appointment for the pro-life movement, a very important appointment,” she explains.
A column published in the Washington Post Monday says the names of potential HHS nominees being “circulated” include: Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator; Scott Gottlieb, Food and Drug Administration commissioner; Gov. Rick Scott of Florida; Obama-era Veterans Affairs secretary David Shulkin; former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts; and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
“Some of these names listed in the Washington Post article are people who appear to be moderate and this is a big concern for us right now,” Hawkins continues. “We want to make sure they get this appointment right, and that they don’t try to ram it through by picking a moderate that they hope Chuck Schumer will allow to be confirmed so they can get back to tax reform.”
Baker, for example, though a Republican, earlier this year promised to pad Planned Parenthood’s state funding if Congress and President Donald Trump succeed in defunding the abortion giant at the federal level. Hawkins says he would not be a desirable choice to fulfill Trump’s pro-life agenda. She adds any possible candidates who are holdovers from the Obama administration – such as Shulkin – would not get the support of Trump’s pro-life base.
The leader of the nation’s largest organization of pro-life youth, Hawkins says that, since January, national pro-life leaders have been working with the Trump administration to reshape HHS after the eight years of the pro-abortion Obama era.
“To lose that momentum, to lose that progress, would be detrimental,” she states, acknowledging that she has always had some concerns since Trump is “new to the pro-life movement.”
The letter sent to Trump and signed by pro-life leaders explains the essential nature of the top HHS post:
Especially as the critical job of addressing the anti-life monstrosity that is Obamacare remains incomplete, we need a nominee who will respect the pro-life convictions of the American people and use HHS resources to affirm life.
Abortion is not healthcare. The scarce resources of the American taxpayer should be invested in life-affirming medical care, rather than in abortion vendors. Nor should it be a policy goal of the U.S. to force people to subsidize life-ending drugs and devices against their Constitutional rights of conscience and religion.
“When you hear there could be a possibility of appointing an HHS secretary who will appease Chuck Schumer – that’s a huge concern for us,” Hawkins says. “We shouldn’t be appeasing radical extremists like Chuck Schumer.”