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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

How to Feel Better 

It's been a week; enough wallowing; time to get off your bruised and smarting progressive ass and do something [again]. As you know, the President plans to "spend his political capital" throwing bones to the right-wing fundamentalists who put him back in office, and one of the first and (dare we say) knobbiest bones he plans to throw them is Dr. W. David Hager -- on whom our esteemed colleague Kerensky 97 of An Eye Opener dredged up the following background info:
A quiet battle is raging over the Bush Administration's plan to appoint a scantily credentialed doctor, whose writings include a book titled As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now, to head an influential Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel on women's health policy. Sources tell Time that the agency's choice for the advisory panel is Dr. W. David Hager, an obstetrician-gynecologist who also wrote, with his wife Linda, Stress and the Woman's Body, which puts "an emphasis on the restorative power of Jesus Christ in one's life" and recommends specific Scripture readings and prayers for such ailments as headaches and premenstrual syndrome. Though his resume describes Hager as a University of Kentucky professor, a university official says Hager's appointment is part time and voluntary and involves working with interns at Lexington's Central Baptist Hospital, not the university itself. In his private practice, two sources familiar with it say, Hager refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women. Hager did not return several calls for comment.

FDA advisory panels often have near-final say over crucial health questions. If Hager becomes chairman of the 11-member Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee, he will lead its study of hormone-replacement therapy for menopausal women, one of the biggest controversies in health care. Some conservatives are trying to use doubts about such therapy to discredit the use of birth-control pills, which contain similar compounds. The panel also made the key recommendation in 1996 that led to approval of the "abortion pill," RU-486—a decision that abortion foes are still fighting. Hager assisted the Christian Medical Association last August in a "citizens' petition" calling upon the FDA to reverse itself on RU-486, saying it has endangered the lives and health of women.
Earlier today Zemblan patriot L.S. (who will be starting his own blog soon; watch this space for details) sent us the following petition by e-mail:
I oppose the appointment of Dr. W. David Hager to the FDA Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. 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. Critical drug public policy and research must not be held hostage by politics. Using the FDA to promote a political agenda is inappropriate and seriously threatens women's health.

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.
Write a letter of your own, or copy the text above; sign it; e-mail it to everyone in your address book who is concerned about women's reproductive rights. Tell them to sign it as well, and send a copy to Mr. Bush at president@whitehouse.gov.

Not that it'll change his mind. But it's nice to send Mr. Mandate the occasional reminder that 56 million of us -- more Americans than voted for Ronald Reagan -- were fervently hoping to send his ass back to Crawford, TX.

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