Charmaine Yoest

Charmaine Yoest (née Crouse, born 1964) is an American writer and political commentator.[1] She was formerly the president and CEO of the Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group. On April 28, 2017, it was announced that Yoest has been selected by President Donald Trump to serve in the United States Department of Health and Human Services, as the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Public Affairs.[2]

Charmaine Yoest
Charmaine Yoest official photo.jpg
Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Public Affairs
In office
May 14, 2017 – February 28, 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
Succeeded byJudy Stecker
Personal details
Charmaine Crouse

1964 (age 55–56)
Spouse(s)Jack Yoest
Alma materUniversity of Virginia

Early lifeEdit

Yoest was born to Gilbert L. Crouse, Sr., a government economist, and Janice Shaw Crouse, a speechwriter for President George H. W. Bush and policy analyst at the conservative Christian activist group Concerned Women for America.[3] Yoest attended Taylor University in 1982 and 1983, during which time her mother was Taylor's Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. She then transferred to, and graduated from, Wheaton College, earning a bachelor's degree in politics in 1986.[4]

Career and activismEdit

After graduating college, Yoest went to work in Washington, D. C., as a Confidential Assistant in the Office of Presidential Personnel in the White House during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Since 1990, she has been married to John Wesley "Jack" Yoest, Jr., a former official in the Department of Health and Human Services and an entrepreneur and academic; they have five children.[5] In 1996, Deborah Shaw Lewis and Yoest co-authored Mother in the Middle, an examination of United States child-care policy.[6]

Yoest earned a Ph.D. in politics at University of Virginia in 2004, writing a dissertation on the politics of parental leave.[7][8] She has received fellowships from several foundations, including Mellon, Olin, Bradley, and Kohler.[9] She also worked as a policy analyst at the Family Research Council from 2005 to 2008, eventually rising to Vice President.[10]

In 2008, she was a senior adviser to Mike Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign. Yoest was called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the July 2009 confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor, whom Yoest unsuccessfully opposed. In 2009, Yoest was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent six months of chemotherapy.[8] On July 1, 2010, Yoest testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee at the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee (and Solicitor General) Elena Kagan.[11] Yoest also opposed Kagan's nomination, and called for a Senate investigation into alleged discrepancies in Kagan's testimony related to "partial-birth abortion".[12][13] In 2012, Yoest was appointed to the Congressional Award Board by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.[14]

Yoest was president and CEO of Americans United for Life for several years.[15][16] In 2016, she joined Gary Bauer's group American Values as a senior fellow.[17]

Position on abortion and birth controlEdit

Yoest poses for an official picture in March 2016

A 2011 profile in The Christian Science Monitor said Yoest "is not shrill, rigid, or somehow provincial in values or experience. She is not a fire-and-brimstone finger wagger, though faith is a centerpiece of her life."[15] A 2012 profile in The Washington Post discussed Yoest's role in the initial decision by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to stop giving funds to Planned Parenthood.[16]

A 2012 profile in The New York Times said that Yoest's opposition to legal abortion "leaves no room for exceptions in the case of rape or incest, or to preserve the health of the mother. She believes that embryos have legal rights, and opposes birth control, like the IUD, that she thinks 'has life-ending properties'."[8] Yoest has vigorously affirmed the unproven abortion–breast cancer hypothesis, which claims that having an abortion increases the risk of breast cancer.[8] Yoest, former head of the pro-life advocacy group Americans United for Life, helped to develop the strategy for a Texas statute filled with obstacles to abortion services, in the guise of protections for women's health. The U.S. Supreme Court abandoned its deference to state law and struck down the law because its underlying factual claims were patently false.[18] Donald Trump appointed Yoest as assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS. She asserts that condoms do not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted infections. Yoest has claimed that contraception does not reduce the number of abortions, and says that to accept this argument "would be, frankly, carrying water for the other side to allow them to re-define the issue in that way".[18]


  1. ^ Fournier, Deacon Keith (October 31, 2008). SPECIAL: Interview with AUL Action's Charmaine Yoest on 'Open Letter to Barack Obama.' Archived June 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Catholic Online
  2. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Key Additions to his Administration". April 28, 2017. Archived from the original on May 17, 2017. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  3. ^ Crouse, Janice Shaw (2012). Marriage Matters: Perspectives on the Private and Public Importance of Marriage. Transaction Publishers, ISBN 9781412846073
  4. ^ Kiem, Elizabeth (May 14, 2004). No ‘cookie-cutter’ solutions: Family expert Charmaine Yoest says creativity, flexibility are keys to resolving work/family issues. Archived January 1, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Inside UVA
  5. ^ Hays, Charlotte (October 5, 2011). Behind the Pro-Life Victories of 2011. National Catholic Register
  6. ^ Lewis, Deborah Shaw (1996). Mother in the Middle: Searching for Peace in the Mommy Wars. Zondervan, ISBN 0310206928
  7. ^ Yoest, Charmaine Crouse (2004). Empowering Shakespeare's Sister: The Politics of Parental Leave. University of Virginia
  8. ^ a b c d Bazelon, Emily (November 2, 2012). "Charmaine Yoest's Cheerful War on Abortion". The New York Times.
  9. ^ Kohler Fellowships Archived November 9, 2010, at, The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society,
  10. ^ FRC In The News,
  11. ^ Staff report (June 25, 2010). Kagan hearings witness list released. The Washington Post
  12. ^ Harned, Mary (June 30, 2010). Kagan testimony raises discrepancy on efforts to lobby medical groups on partial-birth abortion. Archived July 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Human Events
  13. ^ Foster, Daniel (July 1, 2010). AUL Calls for Investigation of Kagan’s Abortion Testimony. National Review
  14. ^ "The Congressional Award: Board of Directors". Archived from the original on August 2, 2012.
  15. ^ a b Skalka, Jennifer (August 13, 2011). Abortion opponents have a new voice. The Christian Science Monitor
  16. ^ a b Klein, Ezra (February 2, 2012). Meet the woman who got Komen to defund Planned Parenthood. The Washington Post
  17. ^ Gary Bauer announces Charmaine Yoest as the new American Values Senior Fellow, Defending Conservative Ideals in Historic Election Cycle (press release), American Values (July 8, 2016).
  18. ^ a b R. Alta Charo,Alternative Science and Human Reproduction NEJM, June 14, 2017, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1707107

External linksEdit