Teresa Manning, the controversial official in charge of the Title X federal family planning program, was escorted from HHS premises on Friday.
Two sources with knowledge of Manning’s departure tell POLITICO that she was fired by HHS. An HHS spokesperson disputed that account, saying that Manning resigned.
“HHS is very grateful for her service,” the spokesperson said. “Her departure after resignation was not unusual in any way.”
Manning could not be reached for comment.
Manning, who previously worked for anti-abortion groups including the Family Research Council and National Right to Life, had been serving as deputy assistant secretary for HHS’ Office of Population Affairs. In that role, she was responsible for helping set national policy around family planning, contraception and teen pregnancy — a development that alarmed abortion-rights groups worried about Manning’s history of statements and actions opposing birth control and abortion.
Manning stated in a 2003 public radio interview that “contraception doesn’t work.” She also has separately suggested a link between abortion and breast cancer, which has not been proven, and helped craft state legislation to limit access to abortion.
Manning’s name was removed from OPA’s leadership page on Friday night. She had been tapped in May 2017 to lead the office, which has been criticized by state officials in recent months. OPA’s process to allow states to apply for family-planning grants is running more than two months behind schedule.
Valerie Huber, who had been serving as chief of staff for the HHS’ assistant secretary of health, was named acting deputy assistant security of OPA. Huber is an advocate for abstinence education who joined HHS in June 2017.
A source with knowledge of Manning’s dismissal said that staff were told to leave the floor of the HHS building and to take their computers, in order to ensure that no one witnessed her being escorted out.