The Trump administration’s top official overseeing family planning once compared abortion to slavery and the Holocaust, according to a memo prepared by Democratic staffers on the Senate Health Committee.
Tonic, a vertical of Vice, first reported Friday on the memo detailing the past comments made by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs Diane Foley. Foley was appointed by the Trump administration to oversee Title X, the federal government’s family planning program.
Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised Senate Democrats ditch Hyde amendment for first time in decades Building strong public health capacity across the US MORE (D-Wash.) shared the document with the publication.
The memo cites comments made by Foley, a pediatrician and the former president and CEO of the Christian anti-abortion group Life Network, during a 2016 presentation at Charis Bible College in Colorado.
“People who are very adamant about abortion will say, ‘this is an issue of women’s rights.’ It’s which life has more value,” Foley said at the time. “That sounds a lot like what our nation went through in the 1800s, right? When somebody decided somebody’s life wasn’t worth living or they weren’t [worth] quite as much — they were worth what, three-fifths of a human? Is that right?”
“What about what was happening in Europe during the World Wars, where there [were] groups of people that were determined they weren’t worth as much?” she continued.
The Hill has reached out to HHS for comment.
The memo also noted Foley’s past comments calling for a “biblical worldview,” which she described as “[t]he destruction of conceived human life — whether embryonic, fetal or viable, — is a direct attack on the unique act of God’s [sic] because every human life is created in His image and has incredible value.”
The official also opposes comprehensive sex education, the memo states, favoring "abstinence only" education. According to the memo, Foley states that education on contraceptives only “helps with … the physical consequences of sexual activity,” including sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancy.
Foley also linked having an abortion to mental health or substance abuse issues, “despite there being no evidence to support this claim,” the memo reads.
Murray shared the memo Friday in a letter to other Senate Health Committee members.
“[Foley’s] efforts to spread misinformation, undermine women’s access to basic health care services, and roll back women’s reproductive rights are especially dangerous given the office she now leads,” Murray wrote.