by Steven Ertelt
November 21, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Seven pro-abortion members of Congress have asked President Bush to rescind his appointment of Dr. Eric Keroack as the new head of the family planning programs at the health department. They say Keroack, who is pro-life, should be dismissed because he is the medical director for a Massachusetts crisis pregnancy center.
Bush picked Keroack Friday to become the deputy assistant secretary for population affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services. The appointment is not subject to Senate confirmation.
However, seven Democrats have said that Keroack shouldn’t become the one to advise HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on teen pregnancy and family planning matters and oversee $283 million in annual family planning grants because he opposes the use of birth control.
"We are concerned that Dr. Keroack has promoted policies — including the refusal to distribute contraception even to married women — that directly conflict with the mission of the federal program," they said in their letter.
In an email to Reuters, HHS spokeswoman Christina Pearson defended Keroack saying he is a skilled physician and a national expert on teen pregnancy.
"We have confidence that he’ll perform his duties effectively and in accordance with the law," she said.
But Nita Lowey, a pro-abortion New York Democrat who signed the letter, claimed the appointment went against the wishes of voters after the mid-term elections.
"Less than two weeks ago the American public made it clear that they want a middle ground approach to our nation’s most pressing problems," Lowey said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this appointment says loudly and clearly that the president simply did not get that message."
Though the appointment doesn’t need confirmation, Keroack could be called on by Congressional committees to testify on a range of matters and Democrats may use that subpoena power to question him.
Two abortion advocates who signed the letter will chair top committees including California Rep. Henry Waxman, who will chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, and New York Rep. Louise Slaughter, who is expected to chair the Rules Committee.
Pro-abortion groups have also bashed President Bush over the selection.
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."
Keroack has been the medical director for A Woman’s Concern, a network of pregnancy centers in Massachusetts.
He 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.
The office Keroack was appointed to also oversees a $30 million program that promotes abstinence education programs for teenagers.
ACTION: Go to https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact to find contact information to thank President Bush for the appointment.