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WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - In a major break with Obama-era policy, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is recognizing that life begins at conception.
The HHS, last week, released a draft of its 2018–2022 strategic plan for public review. Analysts have since recognized a significant shift in stance consistent with the Trump administration's pro-life ethic.
The changes at HHS are a direct outgrowth of President Trump's pro-life advocacy. In spring, the commander-in-chief appointed several strongly pro-life figures to leadership positions inside the agency, including Teresa Manning, a professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University and writer and political commentator Charmaine Yoest.
Manning, a former lobbyist for the National Right to Life Committee and legislative analyst for the Family Research Council, was named deputy assistant secretary for population affairs.
Yoest, former CEO of Americans United for Life, was selected to serve as assistant secretary of health and human services in charge of public affairs.
Both are vocal opponents of abortifacient intra-uterine device (IUD) contraception. They also publicly refute the abortion lobby's assertion that increased access to contraception reduces the number of abortions. In a 2011 PBS interview, Yoest explained, "It's really a red herring that the abortion lobby likes to bring up by conflating abortion and birth control."
Manning, in fact, has blasted contraception in general as "anti-family." Speaking to NPR in 2003, she affirmed that "the incidence of contraception use and the incidence of abortion go up, hand in hand."
HHS will be accepting public comment on its draft strategic plan until October 27.