by Steven Ertelt
April 7, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Leading abortion advocates in the Senate are placing a hold on the approval of President Bush’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration because of delays in approving the morning after pill for over the counter status.
Democrats Hillary Clinton, of New York, and Patty Murray, of Washington, says Lester Crawford should not be approved as the new FDA chief until there is a ruling on Barr Pharmaceuticals request to sell the sometimes abortion drug to women over the age of 16 without a doctor’s visit.
During a hearing on Crawford’s nomination, no new information was provided as to when the federal agency will make a decision on Barr’s application. The FDA was expected to make a decision in March but postponed it saying more information was needed.
A group of senators held a meeting with Crawford to discuss the issue further.
"I just got an explanation that was very unsatisfactory to me,” Murray told a group of reporters in her Washington office, according to a Bloomberg News report. "The FDA should make decisions based on science. The credibility of the agency is at stake if that doesn’t occur.”
Murray and Clinton are both members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which will likely approve Crawford’s nomination next week. However, the two abortion advocates could hold up his nomination on the floor with a threatened filibuster.
Last month, during the Crawford nomination hearing, Clinton suggested that the FDA’s lack of a decision on the morning after pill was "the injection of political concerns" into the drug approval process.
Democratic senators Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland also attended the meeting, held at their request.
Despite their concerns, HELP committee chairman Michael Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, said the committee had received 100 letters of support for Crawford and only one opposing his appointment.
Crawford says there is no politics in the drug approval process, saying the delay was the result of a complicated and unique application.
Barr Pharmaceuticals wants to sell Plan B without a prescription to women age 16 and older, while maintaining the prescription for girls 15 and younger. That will be a tricky concept to implement, if approved.