Bush Appointee to Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee
Source Michael Hoover
Date 04/08/09/12:56

President Bush has announced his plan to select Dr. W. David Hager to
head up the Food and Drug  Administration's (FDA) Reproductive Health
Drugs Advisory Committee. The committee has not met for more than two
years, during which time its charter lapsed. As a result, the Bush
Administration is tasked with filling all eleven positions with new
members. This position does not require Congressional approval. The
FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee makes crucial
decisions on matters relating to drugs used in the practice of
obstetrics, gynecology and related specialties, including hormone
therapy, contraception, treatment for infertility, and medical
alternatives to surgical procedures for sterilization and pregnancy

Dr. Hager's views of reproductive health care are far outside the
mainstream for reproductive technology. Dr. Hager is a practicing OB/GYN
who describes himself as "pro-life" and refuses to prescribe
contraceptives to unmarried women.

Hager is the author of "As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then
and Now."  The book blends biblical accounts of Christ healing Women
with case studies from Hager's practice.

In the book Dr. Hager wrote with his wife, entitled "Stress and the
Woman's Body," he suggests that women who suffer from premenstrual
syndrome should seek help from reading the bible and praying. As an
editor and contributing author of "The Reproduction Revolution: A
Christian Appraisal of Sexuality Reproductive Technologies and the
Family," Dr. Hager appears to have endorsed the
medically inaccurate assertion that the common birth
control pill is an abortifacient. Hager's mission is religiously
motivated. He has an ardent interest in revoking approval for
mifepristone (formerly known as RU-486) as a safe and early form of
medical abortion. Hagar recently assisted the Christian Medical
Association in a "citizen's petition" which calls upon the FDA to revoke
its approval of mifepristone in the name of women's  health.

Hager's desire to overturn mifepristone's approval on religious grounds
rather than scientific merit would halt the development of mifepristone
as a treatment for numerous medical conditions disproportionately
affecting women, including breast cancer, uterine
cancer, uterine fibroid tumors, psychotic depression, bipolar depression
and Cushing's  syndrome.

Women rely on the FDA to ensure their access to safe and effective drugs
for reproductive health care including products that prevent pregnancy.
For some women, such as those with certain types of diabetes and those
undergoing treatment for cancer, pregnancy can be a life-threatening

We are concerned that Dr. Hager's strong religious beliefs may color his
assessment of technologies that are necessary to protect women's lives
or to preserve and promote women's health.

Hager's track record of using religious beliefs to guide his medical
decision-making makes him a dangerous and inappropriate candidate to
serve as chair of this committee. Critical drug public policy and
research must not be held hostage by antiabortion politics.

Members of this important panel should be appointed on the basis of
science and medicine, rather than politics and religion. American women
deserve no less.

[View the list]

InternetBoard v1.0
Copyright (c) 1998, Joongpil Cho