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October 17, 2023
To Whom It May Concern:

We urge all Senators to oppose President Biden’s nomination of Dr. Monica Bertagnolli to lead the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

There are a number of strong reasons to oppose Bertagnolli’s nomination, but in case you’re short on time – Bertagnolli is Anthony Fauci’s chosen successor. According to the Washington Post, Dr. Fauci “said he’d advocated for Bertagnolli to be selected as the new NIH director, believing she has a ‘very solid academic record’ as well as the right leadership style to helm the agency.”

It’s not difficult to see some reasons why Fauci rates Dr. Bertagnolli so highly. She signed a letter in May of 2020 urging governments to implement mask mandates “in all public places, such as stores, transportation systems, and public buildings as soon as possible.” If no mask was available, the letter helpfully proposed, people should be required to wear “a piece of cloth, a scarf, bandana, t-shirt, or paper towel” over their mouths instead.

Big Pharma companies, and Pfizer in particular, are likely thrilled about Dr. Bertagnolli’s nomination. Dr. Bertagnolli’s research has been underwritten almost exclusively by major pharmaceutical companies, including nearly $300 million from Pfizer between 2016 and 2022. Other research funding in that time came from Seagen ($26.6 million), Janssen Research & Development ($19.4 million), AstraZeneca ($7.7 million) and Merck Sharp & Dohme ($1 million), along with other contributions from Exelixis, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Genentech, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, and Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Big Pharma’s largesse has been handsomely rewarded. When the Trump Administration proposed that US payments for certain drugs be capped at the lowest price similar countries pay, Dr. Bertagnolli jumped to Big Pharma’s defense, arguing that such a move would be overly harmful to the companies and would harm doctors’ ability to provide “equitable” care.

Equity, for Dr. Bertagnolli, does not simply mean ensuring the poor have access to high-quality medical care. Instead, it means injecting left-wing identity politics, including racial biases and promotion of grotesque sex change procedures, into the medical profession.

Since taking over as head of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Bertagnolli has continued to inject identity politics into the nation’s cancer research. She is currently the Chair of the Equity Council at NCI and under her leadership, NCI has fully bought into the left’s agenda of identity politics and, sadly, racial discrimination. The NCI houses various programs are designed to dole

out cancer research grants and other opportunities based on the research applicant’s race, sex, or otherwise “disadvantaged” status. The NCI funds studies to figure out whether gay people relight their cigarettes more ($100,000), or whether more lesbians would quit smoking if PSAs included LGBT imagery ($2.6 million since 2020). Bertagnolli ran a government sponsored conference on equity in health care including presentations on, for example, the benefits of 14.5-hour training programs in convincing health care providers to say that sex is not biologically determined. Within the NCI, some subdivisions are sent monthly “Inclusivity Minute” e-mails on equity, including reminders that it is harmful for members of one identity group to inappropriately adopt another group’s ideas.

Dr. Bertagnolli has also used her platform as head of the NCI to urge reflection on the historical suffering of Native Americans, and retweeted sentiments on “#NationalComingOutDay” and the “#TransDayofVisibility” proclaiming “the right to receive the healthcare you need to be happy” and that “transgender health care is health care. Period.” In the current political context, it’s hard to interpret these declarations as anything other than, at the very least, opposition to the growing medical and political consensus against sexual mutilation procedures for children. Her views on these issues are likely similar to those of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she has worked for decades, which supports such procedures and urges special attention be given to cancer screenings for “men with cervixes” and “women” with prostates.

Dr. Bertagnolli’s personal practice is also highly suspect. She has faced multiple serious lawsuits over medical malpractice. Before taking over the NCI, she sat on the board of a prenatal testing company, Natera. Natera recently came under scrutiny from the New York Times for promoting prenatal tests for various diseases which, due to the rarity of the diseases in question, have a False Positive Rate of 85% or higher. Positive results on these tests are often a death sentence for the unborn child, who is in many cases aborted, but Dr. Bertagnolli’s company gets paid all the same. Bertagnolli’s compensation from Natera, including stock, runs to more than a quarter of a million dollars.

Simply put, Bertagnolli is a radical with a concerning record who will undoubtedly guide the NIH in a dangerous direction and continue to push an extreme left-wing cultural agenda on our health care system. We urge Senators to aggressively oppose her nomination.


Terry Schilling
American Principles Project

Jon Schweppe
Policy Director
American Principles Project

Tom Jones
American Accountability Foundation

Penny Nance
CEO and President
Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee

Kristen A. Ullman President
Eagle Forum

Kristan Hawkins President
Students for Life Action

Jenny Beth Martin Honorary Chairman
Tea Party Patriots Action

Wade Miller
Executive Director
Citizens for Renewing America

Tom McClusky
Director of Government Affairs CatholicVote

Ron Armstrong President
Stand Up Michigan

George Rasley Managing Editor

Heather Higgins
Independent Women’s Voice (IWV)

Frank J. Gaffney Executive Chairman Center for Security Policy