by Steven Ertelt
September 27, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates are delighted to see the resignation of FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford, who abruptly left his post at the end of last week just two months after the Senate confirmed him.
News reports indicate personal issues may have caused him to step down, but pro-abortion groups were unhappy with the FDA’s decision to again delay approval of selling the morning after pill over the counter.
Planned Parenthood interim president Karen Pearl said she hoped Crawford’s resignation would signal a "new day" for the FDA and a renewed focus on science rather than politics.
Under Crawford’s tenure, she claimed, "The FDA has led an ideologically motivated effort to keep a safe and effective drug out of women’s hands."
However, NARAL president Nancy Keenan worried that Crawford’s departure could be used as a new excuse to further delay sales of the sometimes abortion drug to women over the age of 16, as requested by its manufacturer.
"Mr. Crawford’s departure must not be used as an excuse for the FDA to continue to delay a decision on whether women will have over-the-counter access to the morning after pill," Keenan said.
"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.