House Democrats Criticize HHS for Right-Wing Agenda

A group of 12 House Democrats sent a letter on Monday to Tommy Thompson, Health and Human Services Secretary, expressing their concern that the Bush Administration is putting its ideology over the findings of science, according to the Washington Post. The letter accused the department of using appointments to advisory committees, financial audits, and the removal of information from web sites to promote a conservative agenda that often ignores established science, the Associated Press reports. The lawmakers, led by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), questioned in their letter the decision to remove fact sheets on the effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy from the web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the removal from the National Cancer Institute web site the scientific findings of the NCI that there is no link between abortion and breast cancer, according to the Post. A bipartisan group of lawmakers submitted a letter urging Thompson to restore the scientific language disproving the abortion-breast cancer link over three months ago, but they report receiving no response from the Bush Administration. In addition, the group cited the Bush Administration for the stacking advisory committees with people favorable to Bush’s views. They gave as one example the recent inclusion of lead industry allies on an advisory panel on childhood lead poisoning. Claude Allen, deputy secretary of HHS, claimed that Bush believes in “getting broad views É We believe industry has a voice and should have a voice,” according to the Post. The letter follows the recent news of the Bush Administration’s nomination of a heavily religious, anti-abortion doctor to head the Food and Drug Administration’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. Dr. W. David Hager, an obstetrician/gynecologist in Kentucky, is a member of the Christian Medical Association (CMA) and represented the group in the recent petition to the FDA asking for an immediate ban on mifepristone (also known as RU-486 and the “abortion pill”) as well as a complete review of its approval, claiming that the drug endangered the lives of women and their “unborn/newborn offspring,” according to a CMA news release. The committee that Hager would lead was responsible for a “key recommendation” in 1996 that led to FDA approval of mifepristone. TAKE ACTION Oppose the Appointment of W. David Hager to the FDA Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee


Associated Press 10/23/02; Washington Post 10/22/02; Feminist Daily News Wire

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