WASHINGTON - June 29 - According to a report in todays Washington Post President Bush has reappointed W. David Hager, notorious for his fringe anti-choice beliefs and persistent anti-choice activism, to the influential Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA. Hager has used his position on the committee to advocate his ideological agenda, becoming one of only four dissenters from the overwhelming vote to recommend over-the-counter sale of the morning-after contraceptive Plan B® -- a recommendation that was overruled by the Administration in response to far-right political pressure.
In recent weeks, NARAL Pro-Choice America has led a grassroots campaign to persuade the president not to reappoint Hager, spurring more than 25,000 pro-choice activists to send messages of opposition. In addition, a coalition of Members of Congress, including pro-choice Republican Representatives James Greenwood of Pennsylvania and Nancy Johnson of Connecticut sent Bush a letter pleading that he not take this step.
Elizabeth Cavendish, Interim President of NARAL Pro-Choice America said: President Bush has done it again bent over backwards to keep his anti-choice base happy in a way that simply slaps the pro-choice majority in the face, ignores womens health, and shows absolute disdain for medical science. Pro-choice Republicans asked him not to re-appoint David Hager. More than 25,000 grassroots Americans sent him petitions asking that he not put this extremist back into this influential position. And common sense would argue that Hager is nowhere near qualified to serve on a body thats supposed to provide non-ideological scientific guidance.
Among the highlights of Hagers record:
- As a practicing ob-gyn, Hager not only refuses to perform surgical abortions or prescribe mifepristone (medical abortion), he will not even provide intra-uterine devices (IUDs), a widely accepted form of contraception.
- Hager helped the Christian Medical Association write a "citizen's petition" in August that called for the FDA to reverse its approval of mifepristone and pull it off the market, ignoring over a decade of international research that has established the safety and efficacy of this early abortion option.
- Time magazine cited two sources familiar with his private practice as saying that Hager has refused to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women.
- Hager wrote "Stress and the Woman's Body" with his wife Linda, recommending Scripture readings as treatment for premenstrual syndrome and other medical conditions