11.10.2004

Claim: W. David Hager, a physician and anti-abortion activist, has been appointed to an FDA committee on reproductive drugs.
Status: True.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2003]
Important - Women's Health Issue
Whether you're Right or Left on the issue of women's reproductive rights, please consider the following...
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 has 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 and a setback 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.
Hagar'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.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?1. SEND THIS TO EVERY PERSON WHO IS CONCERNED ABOUT WOMEN'S RIGHTS.2. OPPOSE THE PLACEMENT OF THIS MAN BY CONTACTING THE WHITE HOUSE AND TELL THEM HE IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE ON ANY LEVEL. Please email President Bush at president@whitehouse.gov or call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414 and say "I oppose the appointment of Dr. Hager to the FDA Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. Mixing religion and medicine is unacceptable. Using the FDA to promote a political agenda is inappropriate and seriously threatens all women's health."
Origins: So often the items we're asked to research have nothing to them. That is not the case here — the piece quoted above doesn't stray too far from the facts.


In December 2002, W. David Hager was one of eleven physicians appointed to the Food and Drug Administration's Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs, a commitee whose job it is to evaluate data and make recommendations on the safety and effectiveness of marketed and experimental drugs for use in obstetrics, gynecology, and related specialties. Dr. Hager is a part-time professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University Kentucky College of Medicine and a well-known specialist on gynecologic infections, and therefore at first blush his appointment to this committee would seem a good fit.
However, he is also vehemently pro-life and has vigorously played a part in the campaign to get the FDA to withdraw its approval of mifepristone (RU-486), a drug that terminates pregnancies. He is indeed the author of a number of books in which he's advocated prayer and the reading of the Scriptures as cures for medical ills.
Dr. Hager makes no bones about his beliefs but says they won't compromise his judgment: "Yes, I'm pro-life. But that's not going to keep me from objectively evaluating medication. I believe there are some safety concerns (about mifepristone) and they should be evaluated."
Contrary to the claim made in the now widely-circulated e-mail decrying his appointment, Dr. Hager says he does not deny birth-control prescriptions to unmarried women. However, Time magazine reported that "In his private practice, two sources familiar with it say, Hager refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women."
The appointment is a done deal, and Dr. Hager is now part of this committee (although, perhaps as a result of the controversy raised by this message, he was not appointed to chair the committee).
In June 2004, Dr. Hager was reappointed to the committee for a further year. Immediately after the re-election of President Bush, the e-mail decrying the appointment of Dr. Hager was circulated anew.
Barbara "retread" Mikkelson
Additional information:
Charter of the Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee (FDA)
W. David Hager (University of Kentucky)
RU-486 (Childbirth by Choice Trust)
Last updated: 10 November 2004 Petition is below.

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 he 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, 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. His 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. 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. We are concerned that Dr. Hager's strong religious eliefs 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 statement to be sent to the White House, opposing the placement of Hager.


(1) Please copy and paste this post into an e-mail, sign it, and send to
president@whitehouse as you will be #170.

Then caopy and paste this post into a fresh

email; sign it and after you sign, SEND

THIS TO EVERY PERSON

YOU KNOW WHO IS CONCERNED ABOUT WOMEN'S RIGHTS.


(2) Every 10th person who signs the list (i.e., #10, #20,

#30, etc.) -

please forward the entire e-mail to

president@whitehouse.gov


____________________________________________________________________


We oppose the appointment of Dr. W. David Hager to the FDA

Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. Mixing a specific religion and

medicine is unacceptable in a policy-making position. Using the FDA to

promote a political agenda or a narrowly-defined moral 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.


6 comments:

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