Here’s why this appointee would be a disaster for women’s health.
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 (née 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 (OPA).
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, including appointing Charmaine Yoest to the position of HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.
Manning in Her Own Words
She opposes emergency contraception and attacks the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
In a Family Research Council press release, she 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.
She referred to abortion as “legalized crime,” citing Pope John Paull II.
In January 2003, at a panel discussion,she 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]
She 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."
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.
With each dangerous appointment, President Trump is confirming the worst fears of the millions of women who marched and organized after the election. If this administration were truly committed to empowering women, they would support efforts that help women and girls to live healthy lives.