Susan Orr, President Bush’s controversial appointee to head the Office of Population Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), resigned this week after less than a year in the position. Orr’s appointment was criticized from the beginning by lawmakers and women’s rights groups because of Orr’s long history as an opponent of contraceptives.
Orr’s position oversees the administration of Title X, the only federal funding program providing contraceptive services to low-income women and men, according to RH Reality Check. Lawmakers urged Health and Human Services secretary Mike Leavitt to withdraw Orr’s appointment last year, a letter from House Representatives calling Orr’s appointment “yet another misguided decision by an administration that is intent on undermining women’s health.”
“We are certainly relieved that a known opponent of access to contraception like Dr. Susan Orr is resigning from her position as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs (DASPA) … However, her departure does not end our concerns about recent reports indicating that the Bush Administration is seriously considering harmful regulations on a critical federal family planning program like Title X. If implemented, these changes could severely harm the health of millions of American women and men by limiting access to family planning services,” said the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association in a statement.