Pro-life activist Teresa Manning tapped to oversee Trump family planning program

President Donald Trump tapped anti-abortion advocate Teresa Manning to oversee federal family planning programs within his administration, Politico reported on Monday. The Hill later confirmed Manning’s appointment.

Manning, a law professor by trade, previously worked for two pro-life organizations and, according to The Hill, will be named deputy secretary for population affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services. A placement within the deputy secretary role would put Manning in charge of overseeing the disbursement of funds for Title X federal family programs. Title X is the nation’s only federal grant program that is dedicated to providing family planning and related services.

She would also be instrumental in implementing Department of Health and Human Services policies regarding contraception.

In 2012, Manning sued the University of Iowa for job discrimination, claiming that she was not hired at the school because of her hardline positions on abortion and politics, but in 2015, a federal jury returned a verdict in favor of the school.

Manning previously worked for two pro-life entities, Family Research Council and the National Right to Life.

The Family Research Council is a Christian nonprofit organization whose mission statement reads, “Family Research Council’s mission is to advance faith, family and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview.” The National Right to Life is the nation’s oldest and largest pro-life organization, lobbying to prevent any unnatural deaths ranging from abortion to euthanasia.

Manning, an outspoken contraceptive skeptic, has spoken out against both the efficacy of female contraception and the morality of the morning-after pill.

During a 2003 radio interview, Manning called into question the efficacy of female contraception.

“Of course, contraception doesn’t work,” Manning said during an NPR interview. “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.”

Manning has also referred to abortion as “legalized crime,” and said that the morning-after pill is “the destruction of a human life already conceived.” Manning also has lobbied to prevent the pill from being sold over the counter.

“The attempt to change the status of the morning-after pill from prescription to over the counter is both immoral, since the pill can act to destroy the human life already conceived, and medically irresponsible, since over-the-counter status makes routine and repeated use more likely, with no safeguards for contraindications or complications,” Manning said on behalf of the Family Research Council in 2001.

About reports that Manning will be named deputy secretary for population affairs at HHS, Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement:

“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.”

The Trump administration has yet to publicly comment on Manning’s appointment at the time of this writing.