Dr. Susan Orr, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Population Affairs and former Family Research Council staffer, stepped down today. A controversial appointee from the start, Dr. Orr had been in the position for less than a year.
Why so controversial? Her position oversees the administration of Title X, the only federal funding program providing contraceptive services to low-income women and men, but she had applauded President Bush’s proposal to eliminate the requirement that federal
employees’ health insurance provide coverage for a range of birth control methods, saying, "We’re quite pleased because fertility is not a disease. It’s not a medical necessity that you have [contraception]."
Just last week Amie pointed out that the Family Research Council was heading up a group of conservative political groups all pressuring President Bush to cut Title X family planning funding for clinics who also provide abortion services — and their former employee, Dr. Orr, was the person to whom they made their request. Amie wrote, "Was this…strategy discussed with Susan Orr prior to the
letter they recently sent? Isn’t this a bit like the oil companies
setting energy policy with Dick Cheney?"
The National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association said in a statement:
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NFPRHA members can breathe a sigh of relief because a known opponent of
access to contraception will no longer administer a program provides
comprehensive family planning services to low-income and uninsured
You can use this opportunity to make sure Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt knows how you feel about preserving Title X funding for low-income women and men by sending him a letter here.
You might also want to let President Bush know that he needs to make his next appointment to head this post a more appropriate one!
- Marilyn Keefe, Domestic Gag Rule? Deja Vu All Over Again