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The newly-confirmed surgeon general of the United States is an ObamaCare apologist who praised the Department of Health and Human Services for mandating that employers offer full, co-pay-free coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs, arguing that women benefit from expanded “choice and access to contraceptives.”

The Senate confirmed Dr. Vivek Murthy, 37, Monday by a narrow majority of 51–50. Republican Mark Kirk of Illinois, who is well known for his liberal positions on contentious public health issues like abortion and homosexuality, joined all but three Democrats in supporting Murthy.  The three Democrats opposed to his confirmation were Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. 

The narrow margin of victory for the young doctor highlights the consequences of the Democratic leadership’s “nuclear option,” which changed the Senate rules to allow confirmation of non-Supreme Court presidential appointments with a simple majority, as opposed to the 60 votes it used to require.  Without this rule change, it is unlikely Murthy would have been confirmed, due to concerns over his youth, inexperience, and history of political activism.

Murthy was the founder of both Doctors for Obama, a group that backed the president in his 2008 election bid, and Doctors for America, a group that campaigned for the passage of ObamaCare.  Prior to his nomination, he was active on social media, and past comments he made on Twitter were cause for concern for many senators.

During Murthy’s confirmation hearings last February, Murthy fielded questions from Sen. Mike Enzi, R-WY, concerning a Tweet he posted in 2012 celebrating ObamaCare’s controversial HHS mandate, which was ruled largely unconstitutional in June.  Murthy praised the mandate for offering women “choice and access to contraception,” adding, “what's wrong with choice?”

Questioned by Enzi as to whether he believed employers who have genuine religious opposition to contraceptives, sterilization, or abortifacients should be forced to pay for them, Murthy dodged the question.  He said his position in support of free access to contraception was “informed by science,” but conceded that it was the government’s job to find “balance” between scientific consensus and individuals’ religious freedoms. 

Murthy avoided directly answering the question of whether religious employers should be forced to pay for contraceptives and other morally objectionable products or procedures, but said he sees the job of a surgeon general as being an advocate for science. He claimed that science proves women who have free access to contraceptives have “better outcomes” than women who do not; however, he did not cite any studies or statistics to prove his assertion.

The World Health Organization classifies hormonal birth control as a class 1 carcinogen – the most dangerous form of cancer-causing agents.  Numerous studies have shown that oral, implantable, and injected contraceptives more than double the risk of breast cancer in otherwise healthy women.  Additionally, these same drugs carry dangerous and potentially deadly side effects including blood clots, stroke, heart attack, and death.  In their implantable form – most commonly via an intrauterine device called Mirena – they carry the additional risk of uterine perforation, organ damage, and potentially fatal bleeding. 

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“The mountain of evidence that these drugs are killers cannot just be swept under the rug,” said Judie Brown, president of American Life League, in announcing the “The Pill Kills” social media campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of hormonal birth control. 

Aside from Murthy’s support for expanded access to potentially life-threatening drugs, senators from both sides of the aisle questioned his lack of medical experience and his outspokenness when it comes to politics.

At Monday’s hearing, Sen. John Barrasso, R-WY, himself a doctor, pointed out that since Murthy finished his residency in 2006, his career has been spent mainly “as an activist focused on gun control and political campaigns.”

Heitkamp, one of the Democrats who voted against the confirmation, said, “There are severe gaps in [Murthy’s] basic qualifications that we as a country expect from our doctor of the nation — including experience in public health education training and management.”

Another Democrat, Joe Manchin, said in a statement, “After meeting with Dr. Murthy, I don't question his medical qualifications. I just question whether the public will believe that he can separate his political beliefs from his public health views.”

Now that he has been confirmed, Murthy will serve as the nation's most senior spokesman on matters of public health.  He will also oversee the 6,700-member U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, giving him a military rank of Vice Admiral.

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