WASHINGTON ― President-elect Donald Trump continued to expand his cabinet on Tuesday, tapping Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) as his preferred choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
Democrats immediately attacked the pick, citing Price’s steadfast opposition to the Affordable Care Act, specifically the efforts of the health care law and Obama administration to expand women’s access to contraception.
Price, a doctor and one of the top-ranking members of the House GOP caucus, was among the most outspoken Republicans when it came to Obamacare’s birth control rules, which eliminated copayments for all forms of contraception.
In 2012, Price told ThinkProgress that those rules were unnecessary, as there were no women who struggled to access contraception.
“Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one,” Price said at the time. “There’s not one. The fact of the matter is, this is a trampling of religious freedom and religious liberty in this country. The president does not have the power to say that your First Amendment rights go away. That’s wrong.”
Watch video of the exchange, via ThinkProgress:
Price’s comments, which came during the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, rested on the idea that the birth control rules violated religious freedom protections, a claim that sparked lawsuits against the law. But they also stirred controversy, as surveys contradicted his claim that no women had faced problems accessing contraception. A third of women, in fact, said they had struggled to afford birth control in a 2010 Planned Parenthood survey.
@RepTomPrice!” Renee Bracey Sherman, a member of NARAL’s board of directors, tweeted. “When I was 19, I was unable to afford birth control. I became pregnant and then had an abortion. I’m happy to chat more!”
Ultraviolet, a women’s rights advocacy group, also seized on Price’s opposition to contraception in a statement issued Tuesday.
“Rep. Price and President-elect Trump want to bring our country back to a time before reproductive health care access and a woman’s right to choose; this is unacceptable,” Shauna Thomas, the group’s co-founder, said. “Senate Republicans and Democrats must reject Trump’s selection of Rep. Price, an extreme anti-woman activist, and protect a woman’s right to access affordable health care, including birth control.”