Charmaine Yoest Has A Long History Of Misinforming About Abortion, Science, And LGBTQ Rights

Charmaine Yoest Has A Long History Of Misinforming About Abortion, Science, And LGBTQ Rights

Trump’s Pick For HHS Appointment Has Long Espoused Anti-LGBTQ, Anti-Science, And Anti-Choice Views

››› ››› SHARON KANN & JULIE TULBERT

On April 28, President Donald Trump appointed Charmaine Yoest -- the former vice president of a hate group -- as the assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Following her appointment, Yoest has been deleting posts from her joint blog with her husband that detail anti-LGBTQ ideology and push rape apologism. Outlets should note Yoest’s history of extreme views against abortion, LGBTQ rights, and basic facts of science, particularly now that she is the communications head of the government agency in charge of the health and safety of all Americans.

Trump Appoints Anti-Science Extremist Charmaine Yoest To Health And Human Services Leadership Post

NY Times: Trump Appointed Charmaine Yoest, “One Of The Best-Known Figures In The Anti-Abortion World,” To Health And Human Services. On April 28, President Donald Trump named Charmaine Yoest as the assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Yoest is the former president and CEO of Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group that works to end abortion access through legislation and the courts. As The New York Times noted, Yoest has become “one of the best-known figures in the anti-abortion world” by “putting a gentler spin on” the movement’s harmful and inaccurate claims about abortion. In the past, Yoest alleged that “abortion increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer,” an assertion that various national medical organizations have “decisively rejected, based on an abundance of research.” She also helped push regulations targeted at abortion providers (TRAP) laws, designed to force abortion clinics to close. Yoest has also promoted inaccurate information about birth control, including disputing the establishing link between birth control access and decreased abortion rates, and claiming IUDs cause abortion. According to the Times, Yoest will be in charge of messaging from HHS, including news releases, FOIA requests, websites, and digital campaigns. [The New York Times, 5/2/17]

Yoest Has Been “Scrubbing” Her Anti-Abortion And Anti-LGBTQ Posts From The Internet “As Fast As She Can.” On the May 1 edition of The Rachel Maddow Show, host Rachel Maddow highlighted Yoest’s past statements about abortion and the fact that since Yoest’s appointment to HHS, she appeared to be “scrubbing as fast as she can her own public profile and past statements off the internet.” As Maddow explained, online archivist Russ Kick has been collecting deleted posts from charmaineyoest.com, a website that contains posts from both Yoest and her husband, Jack. In many of these deleted posts, Yoest and her husband expressed extreme anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ views:

RACHEL MADDOW (HOST): The new nominee to be the assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services -- this appointment has made a little more noise because Charmaine Yoest, the nominee, is a relatively well-known hard-line anti-abortion activist. And it is weird to think that the spokesperson for Health and Human Services in the United States of America is now going to be somebody who adamantly insists that abortion causes breast cancer when abortion doesn't cause breast cancer. But let it also be noted that she's going to be the top communications person -- the public affairs person -- for Health and Human Services in the U.S. government. Since she has been named to that position, Charmaine Yoest has apparently been busy scrubbing as fast as she can her own public profile and past statements off the internet machine. Her name is Charmaine Yoest, as I said. She runs a website that is imaginatively called charmaineyoest.com.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation was first to notice on Friday afternoon, when she was announced for this big job. They were first to notice that posts from her website were disappearing at an alarming clip. Russ Kick, who we've talked about on this show before -- he's the brilliant online archivist and investigator who runs thememoryhole2.org. Russ Kick then started saving the stuff that Charmaine Yoest had been yanking down off her website, and it is hall of fame stuff, man, for the person who's about to be the top public affairs person at Health and Human Services. Quote: "Half of rape allegations are false." "Buying a McDonald's hamburger promotes the homosexual lifestyle." "I don't know if Obama is a demon or an orge." I think it's supposed to be ogre, but it's orge. How about this one: "Homosexuals advance breakup of childless families." I don't even know what that means, but it doesn't sound good. She accuses Walmart of "homosexualist activism." Homosexualist is not a word I was previously aware of, but I fully embrace it. Writing about marriage between two women, she jokes, quote, "I was wrong to suggest that large farm animals were a part of the festivities." Charmaine Yoest will now be the top spokesperson and assistant secretary for public affairs at our nation’s Department of Health and Human Services. She's trying to pull that stuff down off her public website but she's not succeeding thanks to investigators like Russ Kick. [The Rachel Maddow Show, 5/1/17]

Yoest’s Deleted Posts Detail Anti-LGBTQ Ideology And Push Rape Apologism

In Deleted Posts, Yoest And Her Husband Slam Businesses For “Homosexualist Activism.” For the posts on charmaineyoest.com, Yoest appears to be bylined as Charmaine, while her husband Jack is bylined as Business Blogger or Jack Yoest. In one of Yoest’s deleted posts, she wrote about a donation Walmart made to Out & Equal, a group focused on promoting workplace equality for LGBTQ people. The company later backtracked by releasing a statement saying it doesn’t make contributions to support or oppose “highly controversial issues.” Yoest called the initial donation “homosexualist activism,” saying it “was a concern for traditional families.” Yoest then praised Walmart for issuing the disavowing statement, saying, “W*M backed away from supporting the homosexual, bi-sexual, transsexual agenda,” and had “stopped its cross dressing.” Yoest also wrote that the group Out & Equal “demands that homosexuals serve openly in the armed services. Give the Gays Guns.” Yoest’s husband wrote a similar post about McDonald’s “funding homosexual activism” and promoting “the homosexual lifestyle.” [Charmaineyoest.com, 10/10/06; Thememoryhole2.org, accessed May 2017; charmaineyoest.com, 5/6/08, via Internet Archive]

Jack Yoest Used Offensive Language About LGBTQ People In Writing About Charmaine Yoest’s Media Appearances. In another deleted blog post, Yoest’s husband, Jack, wrote about a media appearance by Yoest on a Fox News segment where she and Michael Silverman, the former executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, debated whether New York City should allow people to amend the gender on their birth certificates. In writing about the appearance, Jack implied that Charmaine had amended a line in his post to be more appropriate: “Transgender genders will sometimes, but not necessarily, amputate a perfectly normal (ahem, edited by the prudish spouse).” Jack furthered his offensive comments, writing that he “should not be poking fun at anyone who would take a meat cleaver to his manhood. You see, these creatures are crazy, I believe.” In summarizing the segment Yoest was on, Jack wrote, “So this is what liberals have made our world into: A happily married normal mother of five children is forced into debating a trany (sic) of some stripe on Values.” [Charmaineyoest.com, 11/10/06, via Internet Archive]

Jack Yoest Claimed “Half Of Rape Allegations Are False.” One of Yoest’s deleted post is titled “Half of Rape Allegations are False,” and appears to have been written by Jack. In this post, Jack claimed that “when it comes to rape, women tell the truth about half the time.” He stated that the allegations of rape create problems for the police because “who is the criminal the man or the woman? Either a rape has occured (sic). Or a slander has occured (sic). The police officer could flip a coin to determine truth with equal statistical probability.” In the post, Jack further pushed his rape apologism by listing “clues” to “spot the liars” and said “feminist friends should join us conservatives to focus scarce law enforcement resources on the actual crimes of criminals. And not waste time with liars, hoax-ers and false accusers.” [Charmaineyoest.com, 8/19/06, via Internet Archive]

Yoest Has A Long History Of Taking Extreme And Inaccurate Stances

Anti-Choice Misinformation Pushed By Yoest

Yoest Claimed There Was “Research” Proving Abortion “Could Be The Thalidomide Of The ‘90s.” During a 1994 appearance on CNN’s Crossfire, Yoest accused abortion providers and pro-choice politicians of misleading people about the health risks of abortion. Yoest claimed abortion rights supporters were “not willing to tell women … about the research that shows [abortion] could be the thalidomide of the ‘90s,” referring to a drug previously considered safe for pregnant women that actually caused serious birth defects. From the May 1994 edition of CNN’s Crossfire:

REP. RON WYDEN: With all due respect, your views would take us back to the coat hanger days. There are going to be abortions in our country --

CHARMAINE YOEST: No, no, no.

WYDEN: The question is whether or not they're going to be as safe as possible.

YOEST: This isn't about choice. This is about abortion, and you are not willing to tell women what's going on. You're not willing to tell them about the research that shows this could be the thalidomide of the '90s.

MICHAEL KINSLEY (HOST): All right.

YOEST: You know, they used thalidomide in Europe before they brought it over here. [CNN, Crossfire, 5/16/94, via Nexis]

Yoest Said It Was “Absolutely Insane” To Claim Condoms Are “Good Protection Against HIV.” In 1994, Yoest appeared on CNN & Company to discuss HIV prevention. During the segment, she claimed that it was “absolutely insane” to suggest condoms were “good protection against HIV” because they “can fail up to 17 to 20 percent of the time in preventing the HIV virus.” When pressed by another member of the panel on her claim, Yoest further alleged that the public health campaign was “really looking at dispensing condoms to teeenagers in high school.” When asked to support her claims, Yoest alleged that there was “research that’s been published in medical journals” -- a claim rejected by host Mary Tillotson, who noted that “it flies in the face of that which I’ve seen.” From the January 4, 1994, edition of CNN & Company:

MARY TILLOTSON (HOST): And Charmaine, you're one of those people who think they go too far, are you not?

CHARMAINE YOEST: I just think they're shockingly irresponsible, Mary. To talk about this as a good health message is absolutely shocking and absolutely insane, because the truth of the matter is is that condoms are not a good protection against HIV. When you're talking about a fatal disease, you want something that's going to protect you 100 percent of the time. We've got research that shows that condoms can fail up to 17 to 20 percent of the time in preventing the HIV virus.

TILLOTSON: Charmaine, come on, you've got to admit they're better than nothing, do you not?

YOEST: Oh- well, better than nothing, when you're talking about a 20-percent, 17-percent failure rate, Mary, that's just not acceptable.

TILLOTSON: Well, what we're talking about is abstinence versus some protection, aren't we? And the reality of who is or isn't sexually active.

YOEST: Well, that's another- I'm glad you brought that up, because I was really disappointed to see Secretary Shalala get up and talk about how the majority of 20 year olds, 18 year olds, are having sex. You know, we may talk about the fact that these are targeted to 18 to 25 year olds, but the truth is that we're really looking at dispensing condoms to teenagers in high school, and that a lot of these messages really are targeted toward that very vulnerable teen group. And the truth is that the majority of those teens, if you look at the data carefully, are not having sex. We need to be reinforcing that and not giving this false sense of security, that condoms are going to protect you. I mean, where are we going to go when teens get this disease, using a condom, and they say, you know, 'But my government told me that I was going to be safe.' As a parent, I think that's very, very troubling. There is no redress against an inaccurate health message, when you're talking about a fatal disease.

[...]

YOEST: We do have a responsibility to those young people. And we do need to be talking to them about appropriate health messages. We've got research, Mary, that shows that, amongst married couples, who have been faithful in using condoms, that they still were transmitting the disease to one another, at very high rates. I find that very --

TILLOTSON: Whose data is that, Charmaine?

YOEST: It's research that's been published in medical journals.

TILLOTSON: It flies in the face of that which I've seen, which is why I ask about it.[CNN, CNN & Company, 1/4/94 via Nexis]

Yoest Objected To A Sex-Ed Program That Educated Children About Condoms And Told Them To “Make Up Their Own Minds Even If It Contradicts What Their Parents Believe.” Yoest has long been an opponent of comprehensive sex education. During a 1995 appearance on CNN & Company, Yoest told host Mary Tillotson that she found it “shocking” that a sex-ed program would be “distributing condoms” and “encouraging the teens in the program to take the condoms, slip them over their two fingers … -- together with girls and boys working, trying to become comfortable with the condoms.” Yoest also objected that the sex-ed program instructs teachers to “tell the kids that they should make up their own minds even if it contradicts what their parents believe.” From the May 2, 1995, edition of CNN & Company:

MARY TILLOTSON (HOST): How has he demonstrated that- that far, far out of the mainstream?

CHARMAINE YOEST: Well, for instance, one of the things that's really troubling to us is I Have a Dream [sic] program that's being touted as such an important accomplishment of [former President Bill Clinton’s nominee for surgeon general, Dr. Henry Foster]. What we found that he -- it is very, very emphasizing condom distribution. In fact, it's really rather shocking that they are distributing condoms in this program and then encouraging the teens in the program to take the condoms, slip them over their two fingers and experiment with the condoms in the classroom in -- together with girls and boys working, trying to become comfortable with the condoms. Now- that's why we're- we're pretty glad about these hearings, because we think the more the parents in America, the moms and dads, start to hear more about how far out of the mainstream this nominee really is - not whether he's conservative or liberal, but whether or not he reflects what mainstream America thinks - that they're going to reject him.

[...]

MARY TILLOTSON: Charmaine?

CHARMAINE YOEST: Mary, there's been no research done on the I Have a Future that shows- that shows results from the program. And the- the manual expressly states that teens should make up their own-

MARY TILLOTSON: President Bush was mistaken, then?

CHARMAINE YOEST: Well, let me say, the manual expressly states that teens should make up their own minds, even if it's contrary to their parents' wishes, about whether or not to use contraception. And when the American parents find out through these hearings about details like this, about Dr. Foster's record, we're going to be very glad to see a vote, to have a record of how our representatives have voted on his nomination.

MARY TILLOTSON: Don't you suspect the disagreement would be about parents, Charmaine, not wanting their kids to be sexually active, but the reality is if they are, then the question kicks in, well, do they use contraception or not?

CHARMAINE YOEST: Well, what's really troubling, Mary, is that [it] expressly states in the teacher manual for training the teachers on how to interact with the students, that they should tell the kids that they should make up their own minds even if it contradicts what their parents believe, that they have their own rights and- or- and that they should --

ANN LEWIS: That's not what it says.

CHARMAINE YOEST: It is exactly what--

MARY TILLOTSON: Sadly enough, teenagers tend to decide that without a manual to instruct them in that. [CNN, CNN & Company, 5/2/95, via Nexis]

Yoest Supported The Idea Of Embryo Personhood, Arguing They “Can Be Adopted And … Grow To Full Term To Healthy Infants.” During a 2005 appearance on NBC’s Saturday Today, Yoest described her support for the idea of embryo personhood. Yoest told host Lester Holt -- in response to comments by then-Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) that he was not comfortable with greater support for stem-cell research -- that people need to “understand that embryos are alive” and “can be adopted and -- and grow to full term to healthy infants.” From August 30, 2005, edition of Saturday Today:

YOEST: But, do you know, that's another thing that's really sad to me about it because I think he's really forfeited his moral authority as a physician, an opportunity that he had to help educate the nation about the real science behind this issue. It's really important for people to understand that embryos are alive. They wouldn't be useful to anyone if they weren't alive. And what's really, really troubling is Senator Frist yesterday was making an analogy to transplant victims and saying that -- or transplant patients -- and saying that just as you would take a heart and use that as a transplant, then you use these embryos for research. And yet, there's a very big difference between taking some -- a heart from someone who has died in a tragic accident and using that to help someone vs. destroying an embryo that has an opportunity to go on to a productive life. I mean, we--people need to know that embryos can be adopted and--and grow to full-term to healthy infants. [NBC, Saturday Today, 7/30/05, via Nexis]

Yoest Has Frequently Made The Inaccurate Claim That Plan B Is An “Abortifacient.” Yoest has frequently alleged that Plan B and other emergency contraceptives are so-called “abortifacients” that induce abortion rather than prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. In an August 2006 appearance on NBC Nightly News, Yoest accused “abortion activist groups” of “muddying the waters by claiming that [Plan B] is only a contraceptive device.” During a second August 2006 appearance on ABC News Now, Yoest suggested that because “an awful lot of these young women [using Plan B] are sexually involved with adult men,” broader access to the emergency contraceptive “could possibly be a way of obscuring sexual abuse of young women.” [ABC, ABC News Now, 5/10/6, 8/24/6 via Nexis; NBC Nightly News, 8/24/6 via Nexis]

Yoest Promoted The Myth Of “Partial-Birth” Abortion. Yoest has frequently promoted the myth that “partial-birth” abortion is practiced in the United States. In 2007, after the Supreme Court upheld the controversial Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, Yoest spoke to NPR’s then-host Rebecca Roberts about her support for the ban. According to Yoest, the ban wouldn’t stop people from being “able to end the life of ... a viable baby right up to the moment of its birth” but that now providers couldn’t “deliver it feet first and crush the skull.” Despite the fact that “partial-birth” abortion is a fiction created by anti-abortion groups to demonize people who have legal and medically necessary late-term abortions, Yoest continued to say that the alleged procedure was “barbaric” and “violent." Yoest also disputed exceptions to restrictions on late-term abortion bans for the health of the mother because “there’s no way of pinning down exactly what that is.” From the April 23, 2007, edition of NPR’s Talk of the Nation:

REBECCA ROBERTS (HOST): Do you see this as an encouraging sign that this court might be willing to take a new look at Roe versus Wade?

CHARMAINE YOEST: Well, I don't know. I - there's differences of opinion on that because, you know, in terms of parsing out some of the different areas in the decision, you know, when you ask if I'm happy about it, you know, one of the caveats I'd have to put out there is that the reasoning that Justice Kennedy put forward is he said that one of the reasons that it was OK to prohibit this particular method of abortion is that there are so many other methods available. So even within the decision, he made the point that I just made, which is that abortion is still fully legal. You're still perfectly able to end the life of the - of a viable baby right up to the moment of its birth. You just can't deliver it feet first and crush the skull.

[...]

YOEST: And so that's really important for people to understand here, that we are talking about situations that involve the mental health of the mother, which encompasses a very, very large -- there's no way of pinning down exactly what that is. And so when you have a situation where many doctors are saying that delivering a baby feet first is dangerous to the mother, you're looking at a procedure that's absolutely indefensible. [NPR, Talk of The Nation, 4/23/07 via Nexis]

Yoest Advanced The Myth Of “Post-Abortion Syndrome” In An Event At Princeton University. On April 5, 2007, Princeton University’s student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian, wrote that during a lecture Yoest gave at the university titled “How Abortion Harms Women,” she pushed the myth of “post-abortion syndrome.” “Post-abortion syndrome” is an invented concept used by anti-choice groups to falsely claim that abortions can cause a range of emotional, physical, and psychological problems. The Daily Princetonian stated that Yoest “described what she called the problems of Post-Abortion Syndrome, which include effects such as ‘drug and alcohol abuse, personal relationship disorder, sexual dysfunction … and attempted suicide.’” None of Yoest’s claims are supported by scientific research. [The Daily Princetonian, 4/5/07, via Nexis; Media Matters2/23/16]

Anti-LGBTQ Misinformation Pushed By Yoest

Yoest Advocated Against Extending The Definition Of Hate Crimes To Include Those Based On Sexual Orientation. As the vice president for communications at the Family Research Council -- a Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate group -- Yoest launched a telephone campaign pushing voters in Tennessee to call Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to get him to vote against “legislation that would provide extra punishment for certain crimes committed against specially protected classes of people.” The legislation in question was the Matthew Shepard Act, which extended protections for hate crimes to include sexual orientation. [Nashville Post, 7/24/07]

Yoest Claimed That “It Is Damaging Psychologically To Children To Grow Up In Homosexual Homes.” During a 1997 appearance on CNN’s CNN & Company, Yoest voiced her extreme views against same-sex couples adopting children. Yoest stated that no one can “say that two men are going to do the same job that a mom and a dad would” and falsely claimed that the “research is very clear that it is damaging psychologically to children to grow up in homosexual homes.” From the December 19, 1997, edition of CNN & Company:

MARY TILLOTSON (HOST): You say every child has the right to a mother, but the reality is, unless the country wants to bar divorce, we have a legal system which allows lots of kids to live in households with one parent. And the reality of divorce is that a lot of those parents make every hurdle they can between the child and the other parent.

CHARMAINE YOEST: Sure, Mary, I'm not disputing that those are real societal problems that we're facing today. But I'm a mom, you're a mom. I mean, everybody out there needs to stop for a minute and think. Even if you've got a single-parent family, would you want to substitute your dad for a lesbian, another lesbian mom? I mean, we have to be very careful about... (crosstalk)

[...]

ELIZABETH BIRCH: There are over 500 children in this country in need of homes that are in the foster care system today. All we have to do is look at Adam's face, that little boy. These two parents took this little boy, cocaine-addicted, exposed to AIDS and HIV. He is a miracle child today. He's well adjusted. He's happy. He's smiling. These two young men have done a remarkable job. And I'm sure that Charmaine would not want to support a policy that would take Adam away from these two wonderful, loving, stable parents.

YOEST: Elizabeth, I am not disputing your heart or these men's hearts for that little boy. What I am disputing is what he needs is a mom and a dad. You cannot say that two men are going to do the same job that a mom and a dad would. (crosstalk)

[...]

TILLOTSON: Charmaine, is this a secret worry among conservatives that if you have a child with homosexual parents, that they're going to make another homosexual?

YOEST: I'll tell you what, Mary, the secret worry is not so secret, is that the child is not going to get a proper role model of a mom and a dad, a married mom and dad.

And Elizabeth is being very inaccurate in the way she's quoting the research. The research is...

BIRCH: That's not true, Charmaine. That's not true.

ELLEN WARREN: There are plenty of children who grow up in families with a mom and a dad that don't have a proper role model.

TILLOTSON: We'll let Charmaine have one more sentence, then I'll let Ellen in.

YOEST: The research is very clear that it is damaging psychologically to children to grow up in homosexual homes. [CNN, CNN & Company, 12/19/97, via Nexis]

Yoest Asserted That “As A Matter Of Public Policy We Have To Establish In Our Law What Is Best For Kids, And It’s A Mom And A Dad.” In a March 2006 appearance on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, Yoest focused on the issue of same-sex adoption, incorrectly claiming that “two decades of social science research, ... from across the right and left continuum,” has “emphasized the fact that it really is critical for a child to have both a mom and a dad.” Yoest claimed that scientific studies that detail “rosy scenarios for children who’ve been raised in gay homes” have “really, really serious fatal flaws in the methodological approach.” Yoest also railed against social workers “taking a child who was destined for a two-parent home and deciding for politically driven reasons to put them in a gay parenting adoption situation.” Yoest said the ultimate solution is to pass laws against same-sex adoption, stating, “As a matter of public policy we have to establish in our law what is best for kids, and it’s a mom and a dad.” From the March 2, 2006, edition of Talk of the Nation:

CHARMAINE YOEST: We’re really focused on talking about children being raised in the most optimal place for them, which is with a mother and a father. So, I think it’s really important to stress and highlight a point that you made, Andrea, about the fact, the connection between gay adoption and single parenthood, because for us that’s really the key issue, is that in so many instances, that’s the really relevant point, is when you introduce a single parent into a situation with a child, when it is not the child’s biological parent, you are essentially barring them from having either a mom or a dad, whichever one it is missing from that situation, and we’ve had two decades of social science research now that has really, from across the right and left continuum, that has emphasized the fact that it really is critical for a child to have both a mom and a dad.

LYNN NEARY: We’re going to talk more about the research later, because I think that there’s two different ways that you can talk about the research. It’s used in different ways, and we are going to get to that, but I just want to clarify something you just said. Are you saying then that you are opposed to any single parents adopting children, the Family Research Council?

YOEST: I think it’s really important to, probably not across the board, that -- but the key point is that in law you have to focus on the vast majority of cases and it’s important to establish that the best place for kids is with a mom and a dad, married parents.

[...]

YOEST: Well, I don’t want to bore everyone to death with battling studies, but I will tell you this, is that when you look at the studies that present rosy scenarios for children who’ve been raised in gay homes, which you tend to find is really, really serious fatal flaws in the methodological approach. One of the things is just a common sense thing when you think about it, is there hasn’t been enough gay adoption to have a large enough pool to have rigorous statistical studies done. Most of them, when you look at them, they have very small sample sizes, six kids, nine kids, not longitudinal, not random, all these things that as Social Scientists we look for to give you real statistical validity in a study. So, I think there’s real problems with the studies that you cite, and frankly, there was a recent study published in 2001 in the American Sociological Review by two researchers, one of them Judith Stacey(ph), both of the researchers in the article stating that they are supportive of gay rights and yet, their own review of the research, they found it to be very flawed.

[...]

YOEST: Really, we really would not want to see any child without a home. What we see is sometimes social workers going into a situation and taking a child who was destined for a two-parent home and deciding for politically driven reasons to put them in a gay parenting adoption situation. I believe that the foster care system is tragically broken and that there are barriers to putting kids into two- parent homes.

NEARY: But Again, we’re not just talking about foster care. I mean, we are talking about the whole...

YOEST: Here is what I would say to your listeners. I would disagree with Rob [Woronoff of Children’s Welfare League of America]. I don’t believe it’s a matter of faith. I believe that there is research out there that shows very clearly that kids need a mom and a dad. And more importantly than that, it’s matter of commons sense. All you need to do is close your eyes and try to imagine your own life without your mom or your dad and...

NEARY: Or without any mom or dad.

YOEST: Well, you just said, it’s not just a matter of foster care. And our legal system has to be based on what is best for the vast majority of children. And so you have to establish a system in law that says the best place for children to be raised is in a married, two-parent home.

[...]

YOEST: But as a matter of public policy we have to establish in our law what is best for kids, and it’s a mom and a dad. [NPR, Talk of the Nation, 3/2/06, via Nexis]

Yoest Found It “Troubling” That “Homosexual Activists Keep Pushing … Sexual Choices” Into The Public Sphere. During a 2006 appearance on MSNBC’s Tucker, Yoest responded to host Tucker Carlson’s question about whether people care about LGBTQ issues as much as they care about abortion, by saying, “That’s what kind of troubling, is that the homosexual activists keep pushing out there this whole idea of making people’s sexual choices in the public square. What we want to focus on is the fact that you need to be defending marriage.” From the October 20, 2006, edition of Tucker:

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Do you think people care about the gay stuff as much as they care about abortion? It seems like on the one hand you have an issue of life and death, and on the other hand you have an issue of, you know, I don`t know, people’s sexual choices. I mean, they are not really kind of in the same league, are they? Or are they?

CHARMAINE YOEST: Well, you know, that’s what’s kind of troubling, is that the homosexual activists keep pushing out there this whole idea of making people’s sexual choices an issue in the public square. What we want to focus on is the fact that you need to be defending marriage. And that’s -- and that’s...

CARLSON: Right.

YOEST: And Republicans do seem really kind of squeamish about talking about that. And -- but, yes, so they -- Republican values voters care about a lot of things. [MSNBC, Tucker, 10/20/06, via Nexis]

Anti-Science Misinformation Pushed By Yoest

Yoest Opposed Mandatory HPV Vaccinations Because “Parents Should Be The Ones To Make The Decision.” Although Yoest made clear that she supported the HPV vaccine during a May 2006 interview on ABC News Now, she rejected the idea of making it mandatory. Yoest explained that “parents should be the ones to make the decision” about their children’s vaccination needs. From the May 10, 2006, edition of ABC News Now:

JUJU CHANG (HOST): It's been a 100 percent effective so far.

CHARMAINE YOEST: Right, we're supportive of it. We just want to be sure that we don't make too sweeping a generalization about it, so that people get a misimpression of what it can and cannot do. And we do think that it's particularly important this question of how parents talk to their children. We always want to emphasize that parents are the ones who are in control of their children's medical care. And some of the things that trouble us a little bit, they were paying really close attention to as whether or not this vaccination will become mandatory. There is some talk about that. So, we're paying attention to that. We want to always emphasize that parents should be the ones to make the decision. [ABC, ABC News Now, 5/10/06, via Nexis]

Yoest Accused Schools of Engaging In "Censorship Of Anything That Questions Darwinism." Yoest appeared on Anderson Cooper 360 in April 2007 to debate “intelligent design” with host Anderson Cooper and Robert Boston of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Yoest objected that schools were engaged in what she dubbed “censorship of anything that questions Darwinism.” From the April 4, 2007, edition of Anderson Cooper 360:

ANDERSON COOPER (HOST): Charmaine, I mean, do you -- do you believe that dinosaurs walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? And, if so, is that the -- the basis of your argument?

CHARMAINE YOEST: What we are looking at here is saying, there are legitimate scientific questions on the table. And it is not true that -- that there is a complete cohesiveness among scientists.

So, we're really, really seeing an amazing censorship of anything that questions Darwinism. And you see this kind of thing where, immediately, the minute you question Darwinism, people like Rob come up and say, oh, no, you're going to talk about God.

Well, you know, I think our children have more robust intelligence and -- and questioning to be able to cope with looking at all the different theories that are out there. I think it's -- I just have to ask, what is he so scared of? [CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, 4/4/7, via Nexis]

Correction: This post has been updated to remove an inaccurate reference to punishing abortion providers. 

Posted In
Justice & Civil Liberties, Reproductive Rights
Person
Charmaine Yoest
Show/Publication
Rachel Maddow Show, New York Times
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