WASHINGTON — After the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing today on Alma Golden’s nomination to be Assistant Administrator for Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Planned Parenthood announced its opposition to Golden’s nomination, calling on the Senate to thoroughly investigate her ability to protect the health and rights of people worldwide. Golden currently serves as the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Global Health, and would lead the bureau’s work to prevent child and maternal deaths and combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic and infectious diseases.
During today’s hearing, Golden repeated the Trump administration’s ideology and dodged tough questions on the harmful impact of the global gag rule from Senators Cardin, Shaheen, and Kaine. This is concerning because it is clear that the global gag rule is harming access to vital health education and services around the world.
Statement from Jacqueline Ayers, Vice President, Government Relations & Public Policy, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Any nominee to manage global health for USAID should possess a record of protecting and expanding people’s health and rights. Alma Golden’s record is just the opposite. She has already worked to promote the administration’s harmful anti-reproductive health agenda. Throughout her career, she has advocated for ‘sexual risk avoidance’ programs that are proven to be ineffective. Planned Parenthood opposes Alma Golden’s nomination to USAID, and we urge the U.S. Senate to oppose it too.”
Additional background on Golden:
Golden supports ineffective “sexual risk avoidance” programs, a rebranding of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, which the Trump administration is pushing both domestically and internationally. As Deputy Assistant Secretary at HHS, she denounced a report that criticized “sexual risk avoidance” curricula, saying advocating for accurate and complete sexual education “is a disservice to our children.”
At the WHO Conference in Geneva in May 2018, Golden, representing USAID, reiterated the administration’s agenda to undermine reproductive health and rights. She told the assembly, “We have stated clearly, and on many occasions, consistent with the International Conference on Population [and Development] Program of Action, that we do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our reproductive health assistance. The term sexual and reproductive health does not include the promotion of abortion nor do we recognize an international right to abortion.”
In 2005, Golden helped revise a government website promoting teen abstinence, in which she characterized sexual orientation and gender identity as a “lifestyle.” Golden said the department was unaware that the term “alternative lifestyle” was an “area of sensitivity.”
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
For more than 45 years, Planned Parenthood Global has supported access to sexual and reproductive health care and advocated for reproductive rights around the world. In partnership with more than 120 organizations across 12 focus countries in Africa and Latin America, we advance the health and rights of young people, women and families, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable and underserved. Last year, our partners provided over 5.6 million people with sexual and reproductive health information and services. Our unique sustainability model sets us apart, as we empower partners to stand on their own. We help grassroots organizations develop solid reproductive health programs, identify other sources of funding, build their communications and advocacy skills, and develop strategic plans. Planned Parenthood Global is the international arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.