Trump appoints birth-control skeptic to oversee federal contraception program

Pro-Life Teresa Manning

With the budget compromise that shut out many items on conservatives’ wish list, President Donald Trump failed at his very public promise to defund Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, he has quietly appointed a vocal birth-control skeptic to oversee federal contraception programs. Teresa Manning, who has worked for two anti-abortion groups, also holds a number of views about abortion and contraception that don’t comport with scientific evidence.

As the new deputy assistant secretary for population affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, Manning will oversee how Title X funds are distributed. Title X funds go to clinics for family planning and preventative health services.

A few of Manning’s publicly stated views about reproductive health are scientifically incorrect and might cause some issues with her job:

— In a 2003 radio interview, Manning (nee Wagner), said, “Of course contraception doesn’t work. Its efficacy is very low.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription birth control is 91 to more than 99 percent effective when used properly.

— In an article for the Huffington Post, Manning wrote that “the link between abortion and breast cancer is undisputed.” There is no such link.

— In a 2001 press release, Manning claimed the morning-after pill “destroyed human life already conceived.” This is incorrect: The pills prevent fertilization from occurring.

Manning has also worked for two anti-abortion groups, as an analyst for Family Research Council and as a lobbyist for Americans United for Life.

While Manning is against both contraception and abortion, she has not stated exactly what family planning procedure she approves of.

(According to the CDC, the withdrawal method has a 22 percent failure rate, while the rhythm method fails in 24 percent of cases.)

On Monday, Planned Parenthood’s executive vice president, Dawn Leguens, called on Trump to rescind Manning’s appointment. “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,” said Laguens in a statement.

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