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Former Family Research Council Staffer Appointed to Oversee Title X

Washington, DC — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today denounced the appointment of anti-birth control, anti-sex education hardliner Susan Orr to the position of acting deputy assistant secretary for population affairs (DASPA), and called on President Bush to replace Orr with someone qualified.  The DASPA oversees Title X, the nation's family planning program, which provides high-quality family planning and preventive health care services to more than five million low-income individuals annually, helping prevent more than one million unintended pregnancies each year.

“The appointment of Susan Orr is a nightmare for anyone who believes in birth control and sex ed, and further evidence that the Bush administration is intent on appointing an anti-choice extremist to head Title X,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “This is yet another example of the Bush administration putting politics ahead of women’s health care.” 

Orr was formerly a senior director for marriage and family care at the Family Research Council, a political organization that opposes family planning. While in this role, Orr cheered the Bush administration’s proposed elimination of the contraceptive coverage requirement from federal employees’ health insurance. Said Orr of the proposal, “We're quite pleased because fertility is not a disease. It's not a medical necessity that you have [contraception].”

More recently, Orr served as associate commissioner under Wade Horn, former assistant secretary for children and families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Bush administration’s point man for abstinence education. Horn oversaw major funding increases to the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program, bringing the current total for federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage education programs to $176 million per year.

Richards called on Bush to replace Orr with someone qualified for the post. “There are plenty of qualified, unbiased people who could oversee Title X without pushing an ideological agenda, but we don’t believe Susan Orr is one of them,” said Richards. “This appointment is a shot across the bow to the 98 percent of women who use contraception at some point in their lives. Although President Bush may be in the waning months of his presidency, he continues to do damage to women’s reproductive health care every step of his presidency.”

Earlier this year, Bush appointed Eric Keroack, another anti-birth control extremist, for the same post. Keroack served as head of an organization called “A Woman’s Concern,” which boasted an anti-contraception policy on its website declaring birth control “demeaning to women.”  Planned Parenthood, along with 126 members of Congress, nearly 30 media outlets and 111,000 activists demanded Keroack be removed from this position. Keroack stepped down earlier this year amid Medicaid fraud allegations.

The Office of Population Affairs advises the secretary and the assistant secretary for health on "a wide range of reproductive health topics, including adolescent pregnancy, family planning, and sterilization, as well as other population issues," according to its website.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Christy Setzer, 202-973-4975
Tait Sye, 202-973-4840


May 13, 2014