Senator Will Place Hold on FDA Nominee Unless Abortion Drug Off Market

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 15, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senator Will Place Hold on FDA Nominee Unless Abortion Drug Off Market Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 15
, 2006

Washington, DC ( — A pro-life senator will put a hold on FDA nominee Andrew von Eschenbach unless he takes "immediate steps" to remove the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug off the market. Despite it killing seven women and injuring another 950 more, Danco Laboratories’ has refused to stop sales of the mifepristone drug while it’s safety is reviewed.

Sen. Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, will prevent a vote on Eschenbach, his press secretary Wesley Denton told the New York Times.

“Senator DeMint believes that a qualified FDA nominee would publicly discourage RU-486’s use and take immediate steps to remove it from the market,” he said. “We’ve reached a breaking point here, and the senator’s not going to budge until they wake up over at FDA.”

Because von Eschenbach, who serves as the agency’s acting commissioner, is unlikely to take any actions in coming weeks to halt sales of the abortion drug, his nomination could be in jeopardy. He’s also under fire from pro-life groups for allowing over the counter sales of the morning after pill.

Von Eschenbach’s nomination to head the embattled agency may also get a hold from pro-life Sen. David Vitter, but he may block senators from voting for other reasons. Vitter told the Times the FDA nominee may not get a vote this year.

“We’re running out of time,” Vitter said.

The potential holds come after two pro-abortion senators lifted theirs.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, a New York Democrat, and Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, both placed holds on von Eschebanch’s nomination because of the FDA’s delay in approving non-prescription sales of the Plan B drug. With a new deal the agency reached with Barr Laboratories to sell the drug to anyone over the age of 18, the two lifted their hold.

After they lifted their hold, Sen. Michael Enzi, a Wyoming Republican who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, scheduled a committee vote on the nomination for next Wednesday.

The committee can still move forward with a vote, but after it’s held, the Vitter and DeMint holds will go into place.

If the Senate fails to vote on the nomination before it recesses for the year, President Bush can either resubmit the nomination next year or he can use a recess appointment to make von Eschenbach the FDA director for one year.