May 1 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump appointed Charmaine Yoest, former president of the Americans United for Life anti-abortion group, to serve as assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Yoest, a conservative author and commentator, actively campaigned for Trump. She is a senior fellow at the American Values conservative non-profit in Washington, D.C.
"She began her career serving in the White House under Ronald Reagan in the Office of Presidential Personnel," the White House said in a statement on Friday. "She also served as a 'Trump for President' surrogate and as a senior adviser to the 2008 'Huckabee for President' campaign."
Yoest and her husband, John Wesley Yoest, Jr., are the parents of five children and live in Virginia. As the leader of Americans United for Life, which promotes anti-abortion legislation, from 2008 until 2016, Yoest helped states adopt numerous abortion restrictions, such as a ban after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
"Congrats to Charmaine Yoest on appointment as assistant secretary of Health and Human Services. Yet again, this administration demonstrates strong commitment to the pro-life cause," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement.
Some groups have criticized the move. Yoest has previously made medically dubious statements, such as that abortion increases a woman's risk of developing breast cancer -- something dismissed by the National Cancer Institute.
"It is unacceptable that someone with a history of promoting myths and false information about women's health is appointed to a government position whose main responsibility is to provide the public with accurate and factual information," Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said in a statement.