Pro-Life Group Defends President Bush Pick for Health Department Post

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 30, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Group Defends President Bush Pick for Health Department Post Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 30
, 2006

Washington, DC ( — A leading pro-life organization is defending a pro-life appointment President Bush made to head of the family planning programs at the health department. Dr. Eric Keroack, a medical director for a Massachusetts crisis pregnancy center chain, has come under fire from abortion advocates.

Bush picked Keroack last 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.

A group of 21 pro-abortion Democrats in the House and Senate have criticized the pick as have leading abortion advocacy groups.

But Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, says Keroack is a "highly qualified physician and well-respected for his work in pregnancy care centers."

"The attack on Keroack is part and parcel of the liberals’ attack on President Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, both of whom are pro-life and pro-abstinence and committed to women’s and family health," Perkins explained.

He said abortion advocates don’t like his involvement with A Women’s Concern (AWC), a network of free pregnancy centers in Boston that helps some of the city’s poorest women.

"In that role Dr. Keroack provided medical advice and counseling for women who are or think they may be pregnant. He led the way in bringing medical technology into the AWC system, whose focus is on prenatal and maternity care," Perkins said in a statement received.

Some abortion advocates have claimed Keroack won’t uphold federal programs, but Perkins said the physician would do his job but also be mindful of how abstinence can help as well.

"He has made clear that as DASPA he will follow the law as it relates to family planning, but abstinence and public health measures like partner reduction are in his portfolio as well," Perkins said.

Keroack will 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

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.

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 to find contact information to thank President Bush for the appointment.