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Trump appoints pro-life lawyer to lead ‘family planning’ programs

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 2, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – President Trump named a pro-life activist this week to lead “family planning” programs for his administration.

Teresa Manning, a law professor with a pro-life background who has questioned the effectiveness of contraception, was named deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Population Affairs of the Health and Human Services Department (HHS). Politico reported first on the appointment and it was confirmed Monday by The Hill.

In her role with the Population Affairs Office, Manning will help oversee distribution of Title X funds. The $286 million federal program subsidizes access to “family planning and related preventive health services” for low-income and uninsured individuals. She will also be involved in implementing HHS policies concerning contraception.

Manning, formerly Teresa Wagner, is an adjunct professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. She is a former legislative analyst for the Family Research Council (FRC) and a former lobbyist with the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).

Manning questioned the effectiveness of contraception in a 2003 NPR interview. And during a 2003 panel discussion on a pro-life book she edited, she cited Pope Saint John Paul II in referencing abortion as “legalized crime.” The book was titled “Back to the Drawing Board: The Future of the Pro-Life Movement.”

In 2001 while associated with FRC, she said the morning-after pill is “the destruction of a human life already conceived,” and lobbied against its availability over the counter.

Pro-abortion forces are citing Manning’s background of pro-life advocacy to decry her HHS appointment.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said Manning’s appointment “is the fox guarding the hen house” and “a cruel irony.”

Planned Parenthood’s PAC called the appointment “Trump’s newest attack on reproductive rights” and “a disaster for women’s health.” Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northup called it “unconscionable and insulting,” adding that “Teresa Manning has made a career out of denying women their right to reproductive health care services.” 

Manning has never wavered in her pro-life advocacy even when it affected her career.

She sued the University of Iowa in 2012 while associate director of its law school’s writing center, alleging political discrimination based upon her conservative and pro-life beliefs.

Manning contended she was blackballed from two positions in the previous five years due to her work with NRLC and FRC.

She had interviewed for two open jobs at the university, her alma mater, in 2007. And despite an excellent record and reviews from students and faculty, Manning was passed over for both positions. One job went to a professor with no teaching experience and another was left unfilled.

A federal jury dismissed the lawsuit in 2015. Manning wrote about the experience in a 2016 book.

The Office of Population Affairs displayed a clear tilt toward promotion of contraception and abortifacients under the Obama administration. But pro-lifers are encouraged by Trump’s appointment last week of veteran pro-life advocate Dr. Charmaine Yoest as Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs for HHS and Manning.

SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser told LifeSiteNews the pro-life group welcomes the selection of Manning as deputy assistant secretary of population affairs, saying she will bring “a fresh approach and ensure that federal actions are balanced and contribute to family health and well-being.”

“The dignity of women and families demands that their wishes and needs be honored, and that they not be seen as the object of population targets and eugenic motivations,” Dannenfelser said. “Teresa Manning has dedicated her career to standing up for women and for the value of every human life, and we expect her tenure at HHS to embody this administration’s commitment to whole women’s healthcare.”  

The Trump administration has not yet commented on Manning’s appointment.

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