Kate Anderson on August 22, 2023
The new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Mandy Cohen touted her experience as a mother while defending access to abortion, according to an interview with Time published on Monday.
Cohen, who succeeded retiring CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in July, told Time that protecting abortion was on her list of priorities. Cohen noted in response to a question about the recent Fifth Circuit court ruling to place limited restrictions on the abortion pill mifepristone that her experience as a mother made it important to her to protect access to the practice.
“Well, I’m so disappointed that we are here, that we are having the conversation to revisit whether or not women should have access to health care when they need it,” Cohen said. “And, you know, I will say as a mom of two daughters, a physician, and now the director of the CDC, I’m going to continue to make sure that we are working to make sure women have access to care when they need it, and that they have medical treatment when they need it. We will do everything we can to bring the evidence, the data, the best practices we can and support that.”
Cohen also said that she planned to help the government “however we can” on the issues of “reproductive health,” according to Time. The new director pointed to the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Development as another resource for pregnant women.
“We have an entire center engaged around birth defects, and around thinking about how we talk to women about maternal health—before they’re getting pregnant, while they’re pregnant, and after they’re pregnant,” Cohen said. “And I think this is giving us the opportunity for folks to know that those data and evidence and best practices are there. So you’ll see us lift those up more.
Cohen said that the “mission of the CDC is to protect and improve health” and that the agency would continue to ensure that mothers have “access to the tools that can keep them healthy at all moments of their life,” according to Time. She also emphasized the importance of contraception to ensure that women are able to become pregnant “when they are ready and want to.”