by Steven Ertelt
April 13, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates in the Senate made it official on Wednesday when they delayed a vote on President Bush’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration. The pro-abortion lawmakers are upset the federal agency has postponed a decision on whether to approve the so-called morning after pills for over the counter sales.
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions was scheduled to vote on acting commissioner Lester Crawford’s nomination to serve as FDA commissioner.
However, Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Patty Murray of Washington say they will block the vote until the FDA makes a decision on the Plan B drugs.
Pro-life groups oppose the drugs because they sometimes cause an abortion and encourage risky sexual behaviors.
The senators held a meeting with Crawford, who has been running the agency since early 2004, but were not satisfied.
"The problems with this administration politicizing science — with Plan B as the prime example — are coming home to roost," Murray said in a statement Wednesday on the delay.
"I will keep the pressure on until we can restore independence to this important agency," she added. "Approval of a drug should never be based on a confirmation process."
The Plan B drugs are already available in the United States, but patients must first consult with a physician and receive a prescription for the pills. Barr Laboratories, the maker of the drug, wants to sell them over the counter to women 16 years or older.
Senate HELP committee chairman Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, and ranking Democrat Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts agreed to delay the vote after the senators complained.
Kennedy said he thought Crawford’s nomination would be approved once the committee has time to look at the morning after pill approval process.
In a hearing on his nomination, Crawford said the drug approval process had been delayed because of the complexity of the request. Drugs normally are approval for over the counter sale to all customers or not. Implementing the 16 year-old requirement has been complex, he explained.
Despite their concerns, Enzi, said the committee had received 100 letters of support for Crawford and only one opposing his appointment.