President Trump on Friday said he will appoint Charmaine Yoest, one of the country’s most prominent anti-abortion rights activists, as assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
In that position, Yoest, the former president of the anti-abortion rights group Americans United for Life (AUL), will be in charge of shaping the agency’s messaging and communications. Yoest is currently a senior fellow at the conservative group American Values.
Yoest’s appointment follows a wave of legislation across Republican-controlled state houses in recent years restricting abortion. About one-third of anti-abortion bills in state legislations between 2011 and 2012 were written by AUL under Yoest’s leadership, according to a 2012 New York Times profile.
Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights organizations widely condemned the appointment, arguing that Yoest’s past comments should disqualify her from serving in the HHS communications job.
“It is unacceptable that someone with a history of promoting myths and false information about women’s health is appointed to a government position whose main responsibility is to provide the public with accurate and factual information,” Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood’s executive vice president, said in a statement.