by Steven Ertelt
March 30, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Eric Keroack stepped down from his position as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for HHS’ Office of Population Affairs on Thursday. Pro-abortion groups applauded his resignation from the position because they didn’t like having a pro-life advocate as the head of the agency that awards family planning grants.
Keroack said he was vacating the position because of an unspecified action taken against his private medical practice in Massachusetts by state Medicaid officials.
As a result he felt he could no longer hold the position.
President Bush appointed Keroack, who works part time as the medical director the A Woman’s Concern pregnancy center, to the post in November 2006. After that, abortion advocates launched a national campaign to oppose and discredit him because of his involvement.
According to Congressional Quarterly, Keroack had initiated an appeals process on the decision against him and he emailed colleagues saying it would "present a significant distraction to my ability to remain focused on my duties."
HHS Assistant Secretary for Health John Agwunobi said in a statement that the agency "will move forward as expeditiously as possible to fill this position."
IN a statement on the resignation obtained by LifeNews.com, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards was ecstatic by the news.
“It’s a good day for women’s health. Keroack was unqualified to run the nation’s family planning program," she said.
Richards added that that the Bush administration should appoint someone who is more friendly to birth control to the post to replace him.
During the debate over Keroack’s appointment, which didn’t require Senate confirmation, Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, called him 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 Keroack’s involvement the crisis pregnancy centers is an asset to his ability to do the job.
"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 LifeNews.com 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.
The position oversees $283 million in annual family planning grants and also oversees a $30 million program that promotes abstinence education programs for teenagers.