by Steven Ertelt
September 26, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration has stepped down weeks after the federal agency delayed for a second time approval of a request to sell the morning after pill over the counter. The reasons for Lester Crawford’s departure, however, may have been more to do with other issues than the sometimes abortion-causing drug.
Crawford announced his resignation Friday after two months after the Senate confirmed him for the job.
The Washington Post reported that President Bush had asked Crawford to leave the post.
Crawford came under fire from abortion advocates over the delay of allowing the sale of the Plan B drugs without a prescription. However, he also had been accused of having an improper relationship with a female colleague, though both independent investigators and both parties denied the claim according to the Post.
"After 3 1/2 years as deputy commissioner, acting commissioner and, finally, as commissioner, it is time, at the age of 67, to step aside," Crawford said Friday.
In addition to the controversy over the morning after pill, the FDA had been criticized for not being stringent enough on safety standards for the dangerous abortion drug RU 486 and the popular arthritis painkiller Vioxx.
The FDA was also embarrassed last fall when its British counterpart closed a supplier of the U.S. flu vaccine for tainted shots and this summer, the FDA was forced to recall malfunctioning heart devices.
Just an hour after Crawford stepped down, President Bush named National Cancer Institute Director Andrew Von Eschenbach to serve as acting commissioner. NCI has come under fire from pro-life advocates because it has dismissed the link between abortion and breast cancer and pulled down such information from its web site after lobbying by pro-abortion groups.
Pro-abortion New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who had lashed out at Crawford over the morning after pill, applauded his resignation.
"With the resignation of Dr. Crawford, the FDA has a real opportunity to restore its battered reputation and nominate a leader with vision," she told the Post.