Dr. Michael Siegel: How The AAFP Helped The Worst Senate Candidate Win.

With help from a generous donation from the American Academy of Family Physicians, racist Congresswoman Cindy Hyde-Smith narrowly defeated Mike Espy in his attempt to become the first Black senator from Mississippi since the Reconstruction Era. In addition to helping elect a candidate who boasted that that she’d be “on the front row” if one of her supporters “invited me to a public hanging,” the AAFP has helped ensure that the Senate will block any gun violence prevention efforts undertaken by the newly elected House of Representatives this spring.

Although “Several companies that had donated to Hyde-Smith’s campaign, including Walmart, publicly withdrew their support for the senator over the “public hanging” comment,” it does not appear that the American Academy of Family Physicians has either retracted its donation or withdrawn their support for Hyde-Smith. Neither has the AAFP publicly condemned Hyde-Smith for her racist comments.

The AAFP gave Hyde-Smith’s utterly racists and hate-filled campaign $5,000. This was the same amount she received from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Connecticut-based organization which is the official lobbyist for the gun industry in Washington, D.C. Strange bedfellows, huh?

The AAFP’s support for this racist candidate who has a 100% record of working to block gun violence prevention legislation and a 100% record of working to deny women reproductive rights makes this a day of shame for the organization.

It also should lead us to question the AAFP’s values and priorities. After all, it is supporting a candidate who voted to:

  • Require voter identification in an acknowledged attempt to suppress the Black vote (something which likely helped her win election to the Senate yesterday);
  • Create an institution known as ‘covenant marriage’, in which a petition for divorce may not be granted until a year after it has been filed and requiring the parties involved to participate in marriage counseling;
  • Require that before a physician may perform an abortion he or she must perform an ultrasound, offer to let the patient view the ultrasound and hear the heart beat, offer a copy of the ultrasound to the patient, and have the patient certify that she was presented with the above information;

Family physicians who insist that gun violence prevention is their lane should demand that the AAFP rescind its donation to Hyde-Smith, condemn her racist statements, and institute a new policy of not contributing to any candidate who takes money from the NRA and votes to block gun violence prevention legislation that is widely supported by gun owners, such as universal background checks.