The Feminist Majority Foundation joined six groups and several members of Congress, including Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) at a press conference yesterday opposing the administration’s pending appointment of David Hager to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 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 its recent petition to the FDA seeking an immediate ban on mifepristone (also known as RU-486 and the “abortion pill”) as well as a complete review of its approval, charging that the drug endangered the lives of women and their “unborn/newborn offspring.” The committee that Hager would lead was responsible for a “key recommendation” in 1996 that led to FDA approval of mifepristone.
Citing Hager’s recommendations to treat headaches, eating disorders, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) with prayers, Rep. Maloney stated, “Of course everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. But I happen to believe that the head of the women’s health panel at the FDA should believe in women’s healthÉ This administration seems to have expanded its faith-based initiative to faith-based medicine.”
The Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee is an important, 11-member panel that can heavily influence women’s health policy. Next month, the committee is scheduled to lead the FDA’s study on controversial hormone-replacement therapy for menopausal women.