Eric Keroack, who was appointed assistant secretary of the Health and Human Services Department by President Bush last November, announced yesterday that he will resign from his position. Keroack, who previously worked as the medical director for a group of anti-abortion, anti-contraceptive “crisis pregnancy centers” and who is a strong advocate of abstinence-only sex education, was the advisor to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on reproductive health and adolescent pregnancy and administered Title X funding, which funds family planning services for low-income women. After being targeted by women’s health groups that highly disapproved of Keroack, he has resigned due to legal actions taken against his Massachusetts private medical practice by state Medicaid officials, according to the Washington Post.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards celebrated Keroack’s resignation, saying, “It’s a good day for women’s health. Keroack was unqualified to run the nation’s family planning program.” According to Richards, more than 17 million women in the US need access to affordable birth control. Women’s health and rights organizations argue that it is imperative that Bush’s new choice must be a supporter of women’s health and safety.
The Feminist Majority Foundation conducted an online campaign after Bush appointed Keroack, despite his record that suggested he would work against healthy reproductive choices for women. Thousands of FMF online activists sent emails to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, expressing their disappointment and outrage that such an unqualified person be appointed to serve women’s reproductive and sexual health.