Thom Tillis Just Doesn’t Understand How Health Works. Here’s Proof.

Trisha Maharaj, Grassroots Advocacy & Outreach Fellow

Thom Tillis may get to vote on important health care legislation in the Senate, but he’s demonstrated over and over again that he either doesn’t care about health or doesn’t understand how the human body works. Here’s proof.

He Flouts COVID-19 Precautions

At the start of October, Tillis tested positive for COVID-19. Though he’s encouraged North Carolinians to wear masks and practice social distancing to avoid the spread of coronavirus and has made some thinly veiled racist remarks about Hispanic populations not following guidelines, Tillis ignored these same basic safety measures when he attended Trump’s Supreme Court nominee announcement, a superspreader event at the White House. Tillis made the pretty irrational decision to wear his mask while outside, but to then take it off at the indoor reception, flouting everything scientists have told us about how coronavirus spreads. Since the White House doesn’t have an anti-COVID forcefield, it’s not exactly surprising that Tillis got sick after blatantly disregarding the necessary precautions.

Then, despite experiencing coronavirus himself, Tillis prioritized pushing through Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court instead of passing a COVID relief bill. His priority is advancing Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham’s agenda in the Senate (even when those proceedings broke standard COVID protocol) rather than protecting the health and well-being of his constituents. But that makes sense when you consider that Barrett is just as anti-health as he is and is likely to help repeal the Affordable Care Act.

He Opposes the ACA

Which leads us to another way that Tillis just completely disregards health. He’s staked his Senate career on dismantling the ACA, which would leave 23 million Americans without access to affordable health care. His website promises that he’s “fighting to protect the health and safety” of North Carolinians, but that’s hard to believe when he’s actually fighting to take away their health care in the middle of a pandemic.

He’s also called the ACA a “cancer” on the economy. Now, if Tillis better understood health, he would know that cancer impacts the lives of millions of Americans — who all need access to affordable, health care in order to fight the disease. Instead, he hired staffers who, in speaking for Tillis, mocked a cancer survivor, compared getting health care to buying an expensive shirt, and suggested that she didn’t deserve health care if she couldn’t afford it.

Tillis can’t protect his constituents’ health while also stripping them of the health care they need, especially during a pandemic. It just doesn’t work that way. He either doesn’t understand why health care is so necessary, or he just doesn’t care. Neither option is great.

He Is Anti-Choice and Anti-Science

We’ve also seen that Tillis is willing to intentionally misrepresent basic health facts and information in order to further his anti-choice agenda. He’s supported 20-week abortion bans, even though these account for just 1% of all abortions and almost always occur because of devastating pregnancy complications. He’s supported legislation to criminalize abortion providers and tanked a bill to expand reproductive health care to veterans by proposing unnecessary amendments to prevent the Department of Veterans Affairs from working with organizations that “take aborted babies’ organs and sell them.” Then there was the time he helped pass abortion restrictions disguised as a motorcycle safety bill when he was in North Carolina’s state legislature.

It’s obvious that, despite his continued attempts to ban the procedure, Tillis has no actual idea how abortion works, because none of this legislation is based in actual science. These bills are intended to sensationalize and stigmatize abortion in order to justify denying people bodily autonomy.

In addition to blatant abortion bans, Tillis has supported terrible policies such as the Global Gag Rule and Domestic Gag Rule, cutting off access to a wide range of necessary and lifesaving health care services for people both here in the U.S. and around the world. Tillis is willing to deny people access to critical services like cancer screenings, prenatal care, and nutrition services in order to exert control over people’s reproductive health and lives.

Clearly, Thom Tillis does not care about the health of North Carolinians and will happily disregard facts and science when it suits him. North Carolina deserves leaders who will stand up for their health and rights. That’s why #Fight4HER activists are working hard to get out the vote for candidates up and down the ballot in NC. With less than one week left, there’s no time to waste.

Join us and get to work today!

Photo above: U.S. Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. © Gage Skidmore, courtesy of Flickr

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