Washington, DC – In the latest attack on women’s health, the Trump administration is expected to appoint an ideologue who has said “contraception doesn’t work” to oversee the Title X National Family Planning Program – the federal program dedicated to ensuring that people with low incomes or no insurance have access to birth control and other preventive care.
Politico reports that Teresa Manning (Wagner) is expected to be named the deputy assistant secretary for population affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in charge of directing the Office of Population Affairs.
The Office of Population Affairs (OPA) administers the Title X National Family Planning Program, which, as stated on the HHS website, is “the only federal program dedicated solely to the provision of family planning and related preventive services.” The HHS website says OPA “serves as the focal point to advise the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary for Health on a wide range of reproductive health topics, including family planning, adolescent pregnancy, sterilization and other population issues.”
Planned Parenthood calls on the Trump administration to withdraw this controversial appointment.
Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
This is the fox guarding the hen house, and women with low incomes will pay the price. It is a cruel irony to appoint an opponent of birth control to oversee the nation’s only federal program dedicated to family planning.
“We are at the lowest rate of unintended pregnancy in 30 years and a historic low for teen pregnancy because of access to birth control. Someone who promotes myths about birth control and reproductive care should not be in charge of the office that is responsible for family planning at HHS.
“Teresa Manning’s appointment is unacceptable. Planned Parenthood calls on the Trump administration to withdraw Teresa Manning’s appointment.
In January 2003, during a panel discussion about a book she had recently edited, titled, “Back to the Drawing Board: The Future of the Pro-Life Movement,” Teresa Manning (Wagner) talked about her views on family planning, saying:
“On a very simple level I always shake my head. You know, family planning is something that occurs between a husband and a wife and God. And it doesn’t really involve the federal government, much less the United Nations, where we hear about family planning all the time. What are they doing in that business?” [C-SPAN, 1/21/03; 1:27:52 - 1:28:09]
In an interview on WBUR Boston/NPR in January 2003, Teresa Manning (Wagner) said:
“And of course, contraception doesn’t work. Its efficacy is very low, especially when you consider over years, which you know a lot of contraception health advocates want, to start women in their adolescent years, when they’re extremely fertile, incidentally, and continue for 10, 20, 30 years, over that span of time. The prospect that contraception would always prevent the conception of a child is preposterous. Over a 30 year period a woman is very likely to conceive at least once if not twice, and Family Planning Perspectives, the publication which writes on all this, admits that in its articles. It is very interesting what’s happened to the justification of contraception and then the justification of abortion, because contraception doesn’t work.” [NPR/WBUR Boston interview, 1/14/03, 24:40]
This latest appointment follows a long list of actions the Trump administration has taken to attack women’s health and put women in the crosshairs in his first 100 days in office.
This latest appointment follows several other political appointments of health officials who have attacked women’s health, including HHS Secretary Tom Price, and just this past Friday (April 28), Charmaine Yoest to the position of HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.
Laguens on Friday criticized the appointment of Yoest, saying, “It is unacceptable that someone with a history of promoting myths and false information about women’s health is appointed to a government position whose main responsibility is to provide the public with accurate and factual information. Charmaine Yoest has spent her whole professional life opposing access to birth control and a woman’s right to a safe, legal abortion. While President Trump claims to empower women, he is appointing government officials who believe just the opposite.”
BACKGROUND: Teresa Manning in her own words:
Teresa Manning opposes emergency contraception and attacks the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
In a Family Research Council press release, Teresa Manning (Wagner) falsely states, “A major, if not dominant, mechanism of the morning-after pill is the destruction of a human life already conceived. In failing to inform the public of this function, ACOG is deliberately misleading Americans, which is a gross violation of medical ethics (not to mention honesty).” ACOG and medical experts reject these false claims, citing that emergency contraception is a safe, effective form of birth control that works by postponing ovulation.
Teresa Manning referred to abortion as “legalized crime,” citing Pope John Paull II.
In January 2003, at a panel discussion, Teresa Manning (Wagner) quoted Pope John Paul II, and said, “’Do not leave anything undone in the attempt to eliminate legalized crime.’ Got
that, legalized crime.” [C-Span, 1/21/03; 1:11:01]
Teresa Manning has made numerous unfounded medical claims regarding abortion.
In an online essay, she writes, “the link between abortion and breast cancer is now undisputed.” The National Cancer Institute and the American College of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , among others, dispute these false claims, citing several scientific studies.
In the same essay, Manning wrongly asserts that doctors who perform abortions are not morally able to both diagnose the need for a health exception and provide an abortion saying, “the one who performs and gets paid for the abortion determines whether the abortion is needed for health reasons, creating an obvious conflict of interest.”
Teresa Manning was one of the editors for a Family Research Council paper that wrongly asserted, “Interestingly, the effects of abortion are very similar to the effects of rape.”
In October 2000, Teresa Manning is quoted in the Albion Monitor, saying, "The FDA's approval of RU-486 could result in more abortions and therefore more dead babies and injured women."
Background on Charmaine Yoest (appointed as HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs on 4/27/17):
Yoest believes in no exceptions to abortion, she believes that embryos have “legal rights” and she opposes birth control: "For all her emphasis on women’s health, her end goal isn’t to make abortion safer. She wants to make the procedure illegal. She leaves no room for exceptions in the case of rape or incest or to preserve the health of the mother. She believes
that embryos have legal rights and opposes birth control, like the IUD, that she thinks “has life-ending properties.” [The New York Times, 11/4/12]
She has said that abortion increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer: Yoest believes abortion increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, which the National Cancer
Institute, the American Cancer Society and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have rejected that claim, citing, among other research, a 2004 analysis of 53 studies involving 83,000 women that found no link between abortion and a higher rate of cancer. [The New York Times, 11/4/12]
She said many men feel “abused” when a woman decides to get an abortion: In an interview with the Atlantic, Yoest said “that many men feel ‘abused’ by abortions because they ‘have been written out of the abortion decision’ and ‘don't have any rights to a baby before they're born.’ ” [The Atlantic, 7/16/15]
Americans United for Life was the source for Congressman Jason Chaffetz’s misleading and “ethically wrong” chart attacking Planned Parenthood. In September 2015, during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Congressman Chaffetz displayed a misleading chart when questioning Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood. According to Politifact, the chart came “from an Americans United for Life web post from June 2015…. The chart, we found, gives a misleading impression. The numbers listed on the chart are based on actual statistics, but they are small and were hard to read during the televised hearings. The chart’s most prominent feature — the much larger crossed arrows — suggests a conclusion that’s flat wrong…. A spokesperson for Americans United for Life told PolitiFact that the graphic is accurate and honest. Experts, however, begged to differ. ‘That graphic is a damn lie,’ said Alberto Cairo, who researches visual communication at the University of Miami. ‘Regardless of whatever people think of this issue, this distortion is ethically wrong.’” [Politifact, 10/1/2015]