Trump has appointed Dr. Charmaine Yoest as Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs at Health and Human Services (HHS). This is why you should care.

Who is Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

Let’s start with what she is not, a doctor. She has a Ph.D. in political science and is as science-abhorring-pro-life crazy as they come.  Regarding abortion she believes that “when those babies aren’t born, “that is a loss for their mothers.” Because women are apparently just unfilled uteri.

She opposes abortion, even for rape and the life of the mother. It is hard to understand a “pro-life” person preferring a dead woman, but then again it’s beliefs like these that prove it is all about control and forced birth. A dead mother apparently being a loss for nobody, not even if she takes the pregnancy with her.

She believes IUDs abortifacients (they aren’t). She doesn’t believe that contraception reduces abortion. (Spoiler alert, science says it does).

She claims her views are supported by science, but all she offers are the fact-free medically incoherent biblical ramblings of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists as proof.

She is the brainiac behind Komen’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, because nothing says pro-life more than reducing mammograms for low-income women.

What Does the Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs at HHS do?

According to the website the current Assistant Secretary offers “strategic guidance and leadership in the formulation of public affairs policies and programs regarding the dissemination of public health information to the public and the media.” The current acting Assistant Secretary is not a medical doctor.

Who is Aunt Lydia?

The Aunts in the Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale are charged with indoctrinating women brought against their wills to Red Centers. These women have been stripped of all of their rights and are at the Red Center to learn to accept their new subservient role in society, specifically to be the uteri for powerful infertile couples. Aunt Lydia is the character we meet in the book (and the equally brilliant Hulu series) who “educates” (i.e. brainwashes and tortures) women to accept their loss of rights and monthly rapes as a contribution to society.

Aunt Lydia is the ultimate purveyor of reproductive misinformation twisting biblical passages to suit her cruel purpose.

Yoest is our Index Aunt Lydia
Charmaine Yoest’s business is reproductive health misinformation and that is exactly what she has been hired to do. She was behind one-third of state anti-abortion bills in 2011 and 2012. Her life’s work thus far has been to oppose the science of reproductive health and she believes that the death of pregnant woman is preferable to an abortion. Now she will be paid by our tax dollars to disseminate health information and who knows how much of her anti-science pro-uterine servitude agenda will seep into policy and influence bills.

Her position is HHS is concerning enough, but it is also a dog whistle to the forced birth movement.

In authoritarian societies there is a point where people think this is ridiculous, that the madness will stop here. And then it doesn’t and the goal posts are moved and then it happens again. And again. And new ordinary seeps in. A terrible ordinary.

Charmaine Yoest in a position of controlling health information on a national level is frightening. Her lies cannot be our new ordinary.

She is our index Aunt Lydia.

Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia (left), Charmaine Yoest (right)


We are a society dying, said Aunt Lydia, of too much choice

-Margaret Atwood

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  1. Forced birth is exactly what this movement is. They are also scared of minorities. I do NOT understand why they want to force poor and minority women to have more babies. I’m boggled

    1. If they’re bogged down trying to raise babies, they can’t get uppity, can they?

  2. The link under “believe that contraception reduces abortion” is messed up. (The “http” part is followed by “Between 2011 and 2012 she was behind one-thirds [sic] of state anti-abortion bills.”)

  3. A lot of Trump’s cabinet picks go well beyond willful ignorance. It’s more like, “You can take away my ignorance when you prise it from my cold, dead hands.” I don’t don’t what to call it. Someone on another forum suggested, “spiteful ignorance” but I think that’s still too mild a term. “Vindictive ignorance”? “Sadistic ignorance”?

  4. Gee whiz, this is terrifying. As a Planned Parenthood medical director, this makes me nauseated.

  5. Unfortunately , Trumpy is not worried about what his `cabinet` members actually do , all he cares about is that they pass 50% of their budgets back to Trumpys pocket .

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