January 13, 2018 Press Release

Equity Forward Statement on HHS’ Friday Night Shakeup

Politico just broke a story that Teresa Manning, “the controversial official in charge of the Title X federal family planning program, was escorted from HHS premises on Friday.”

In response to tonight’s news, newly launched reproductive rights watchdog group Equity Forward released the follow statement from executive director Mary Alice Carter:

“What is going on at HHS? We know that just being unqualified isn’t grounds for dismissal in this administration.

“Teresa Manning’s dramatic exit is good news in that she was both unqualified and possessed dangerous views on reproductive health, but she is far from the only appointee in charge of women’s health care that fits that bill. Tonight, we’re left with more questions than answers. Why was she abruptly terminated? What does HHS have planned for vital Title X funding that millions rely on? In the absence of a Secretary, who is actually driving policy decisions?

“The administration owes Americans an answer – but we won’t hold our breath. In the coming days, Equity Forward will file FOIAs within the Title X chain of command to explore what happened here and bring to light the changes afoot at HHS that will ultimately impact millions of women and families across the U.S.”

Manning’s firing comes as rumors continue to swirl about the Trump Administration’s potential plans to gut Title X, the nation’s largest family planning program. A recently leaked White House memo singles out Title X, claiming it “should be cut in half at least.”

On January 12, we launched Equity Forward a new, nonpartisan watchdog project committed to holding accountable groups and individuals that are limiting access to reproductive health care. Our first project is HHS Watch, a project to promote transparency and accountability at HHS — with a focus on Manning’s former colleagues in the Title X chain of the command.

To view our profiles of Manning and the officials now in the Title X chain of command click HERE. Valerie Huber has been named acting director of OPA.