by Steven Ertelt
June 13, 2005
Lexington, KY (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life physician appointed to a Food and Drug Administration panel that oversees reproductive medicine doesn’t think he will be reappointed to the committee. Dr. David Hager said the controversy that surrounded his nomination may mean he will leave when his term is up at the end of the month.
Last year, President Bush reappointed Hager to the FDA panel, but the Kentucky OBGYN tells the Associated Press that fierce opposition from abortion advocates may make it difficult to secure another term.
"It wasn’t my scientific record that came under scrutiny, it was my faith," he said. "The fact that I am pro-life, pro-family and support abstinence until marriage made me unacceptable to hold office."
Hager was first named to the FDA’s Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs in 2002.
Pro-abortion groups have criticized Hager, director of an obstetrics and gynecology training program at Central Baptist Hospital, affiliated with the University of Kentucky, because of his vote against allowing the morning after pill to be sold over the counter.
"Dr. Hager’s ideological agenda compromises the scientific integrity of the FDA," Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s National Medical Committee Chairman Dr. Scott Spear said.
Dr. Hager explains that he voted against the Plan B application for over-the-counter status because of the unscientific nature of the studies submitted for the FDA Advisory Committee’s approval.
"My position on the Plan B issue was based on a review of the science and the lack of substantive data from the population of adolescent women," explained Dr. Hager. "My concern is regarding the health and well-being of women."
That’s why the FDA disallowed sales of the drug over the counter and may only approve Barr Laboratories request to sell the drug if it limits sales to women over the age of 16.
Hager also came under fire for saying he had sent a letter to the FDA commissioner responsible for the Plan B decision urging the agency not to allow sales of the drug without a doctor’s visit.
"People overrate my significance," Hager told AP in response. "I carry a very small role."
Whether he is reappointed or not, Hager says he will continue to fight for the best interests of women.
"I understand the extreme left’s effort to discredit me and my efforts to help women, so I continue to stand firm on my decision to remain on the committee and to continue to state the truth about vital issues facing women and their health," Dr. Hager said in response to an email circulated by NARAL opposing his appointment.
"Our system of approval of drugs is unparalleled in the world," Hager told LifeNews.com. "We do not, nor should we allow medications to be used by any segment of the population without adequate, well-designed studies to prove their safety and effectiveness."