|Petition Against Appointment of W. David Hager to FDA Reproductive Health Panel|
|Netlore Archive: Outdated email petition opposes President Bush's appointment of anti-abortion physician Dr. W. David Hager to the FDA Reproductive Health Drug Advisory Committee|
Email example contributed by Tara H., 14 June 2004:
Subject: Women's reproductive Health
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 termination.
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 condition. 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. There is something you can do. Below is a letter to be sent to the White House, opposing the placement of Hager. Please copy and paste, then sign your name below.
SEND THIS TO EVERY PERSON YOU KNOW WHO IS CONCERNED ABOUT WOMEN'S RIGHTS.
Every 25th person please forward this e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
(or do it even if you aren't 25th!)
I oppose the appointment of Dr. W. David Hager to the FDA Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. Mixing religion and medicine is unacceptable in a policy-making position. 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.
Comments: This petition, circulating in various forms since October 2002, is now outdated. Over critics' objections, Dr. W. David Hager was successfully appointed to the FDA Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee in December 2002 (though not as chairman, as some had expected) and reappointed in June 2004 to serve an additional year.
Sources and further reading:
Jesus and the FDA
Time, 5 October 2002
NOW Opposes Appointment of W. David Hager to FDA Committee
National Organization for Women press release, 16 October 2002
Firestorm Brewing Over FDA Nomination
Associated Press, 17 October 2002
Abortion Pill Critic Named to Drug Panel
Christianity Today, March 2003
Abortion Foe to Be Reappointed to FDA Panel
Washington Post, 29 June 2004
Last updated: 11/09/04