Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant nominated anti-abortion activist Terri Herring to the State Board of Health in spite of Herring's complete lack of medical or health care related training. According to the Jackson Free Press, Herring will be replacing Dr. Ellen P. Willis on a board that is otherwise made up almost entirely of physicians, nurses and other medical professionals.
According to the Free Press, the 11-member state board "provides policy direction for the Mississippi Department of Health, appoints a state health officer to operate the agency; approves the state health plan; and approves all rules and regulations of the agency."
Herring's personal website is dominated by the logo for the anti-choice Pro-Life America Network (PLAN). She has lobbied the state government in favor of fetal heartbeat legislation, fetal personhood laws and other legislation designed to restrict women's access to birth control and abortion services.
"Thank you for continuing the effort to bring Mississippi back to LIFE. Terri," she wrote under a summation of a bill to block women's access to Plan B or "morning after" anti-pregnancy medications, which prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus.
Her appointment is seen by many as a political stunt.
Jackson Clarion-Ledger political writer Sam Hall wrote, "Herring is a polarizing and politicized figure. In many ways, she is the embodiment of the pro-life movement in Mississippi and the banner-carrier for the effort to shut down the state’s only abortion clinic. You can love her or hate her, but you cannot deny that she is politically charged. That’s one thing we don’t need on boards like the Board of Health."
[image via governorphilbryant.com]