by Steven Ertelt
November 17, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Bush has appointed a new head of the family planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services who is pro-life. He named Eric Keroack, medical director for a Massachusetts crisis pregnancy center, as the new director but the appointment is drawing criticism from pro-abortion activists.
Keroack will become the deputy assistant secretary for population affairs in the next two weeks. The appointment is not subject to Senate confirmation.
Keroack will advise HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on teen pregnancy and family planning matters and oversee $283 million in annual family planning grants.
John Agwunobi, assistant secretary for health, told the Washigton Post that Keroack "is highly qualified and a well-respected physician . . . working primarily with women and girls in crisis."
Mark Conrad, president of A Woman’s Concern, the network of pregnancy centers were Keroack works, added that Keroack would easily be able to adjust to his new responsibilities.
However, abortion advocates are upset because he works with a pregnancy centers that provides women with abortion alternatives and promotes abstinence education.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said Keroack’s appointment is "striking proof that the Bush administration remains dramatically out of step with the nation’s priorities," according to a Post report.
Marilyn Keefe, interim president of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, complained to the newspaper that Keroack’s work with the pregnancy center "seems to really be geared toward furthering anti-choice, anti-contraception policies."
She said the appointment would have been different had a pro-abortion president been in the White House, adding the appointment "goes to show you the importance of controlling the White House and how important federal agencies are in the delivery of health services."
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told the Washington newspaper that the president has no regrets over the appointment, despite the criticism.
"The president has said we will look to reach common ground where we can find it. However, he’s not going to compromise on his principles," Perino indicated.
Keroack is also a member of the medical advisory council of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, a group run by Sioux Falls pro-life advocate Leslee Unruh, who was the force behind South Dakota abortion ban.