Cummings Requests Documents on Trump Administration Campaign to Scrub Women’s Health Info from HHS Websites
Cummings Requests Documents on
Trump Administration Campaign to Scrub
Women’s Health Info from HHS Websites
Washington, D.C. (Apr. 6, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter requesting documents from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding efforts by the Trump Administration to scrub information about breast cancer, preventive services guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act, and various LGBTQ health issues from the websites of the Department’s Office of Women’s Health.
“It is unclear why the Trump Administration would want women to have less information about their health care rather than more,” Cummings wrote. “Not only do the Trump Administration’s actions appear to violate the federal law that requires notice before restricting public information in this way, but they defy common sense.”
An investigation by the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation revealed that the Trump Administration removed an entire website dedicated to breast cancer—the most common cancer diagnosed in women, which will affect one in eight women in their lifetimes—including information about no-cost preventive services that are guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and information about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which provides screening services to “low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women.”
This report follows a prior Sunlight Foundation investigation that revealed that the Department deleted an entire webpage on “Lesbian and bisexual health” that provided information about challenges that “lesbian and bisexual women face in the health care system.”
“The Department has not claimed that any of this information was inaccurate or that it was replacing it with more complete or useful materials,” Cummings wrote. “Instead, it appears that the Trump Administration simply determined that the Department should no longer make this information available. Any actions that threaten women’s access to information about their health care are extremely troubling.”
Cummings warned in his letter today that these deletions may violate federal law. The Paperwork Reduction Act requires agencies to “provide adequate notice when initiating, substantially modifying, or terminating significant information dissemination products.” It does not appear that the Department gave any such notice before scrubbing this information from its websites.
Cummings requested all documents concerning the removal or relocation of content on the Department’s websites; all communications between Department employees and the communications firm that maintains the Department’s websites; all documents concerning any reviews or audits of content on the Department’s websites; and all policies or procedures governing the modification or removal of information from Department websites.
Click here to read today’s letter.