by Steven Ertelt
August 30, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates in Congress are claiming that the White House put undue pressure on former Surgeon General Richard Carmona prior to his leaving the post as the nation’s top doctor. They claim Bush administration officials limited what Carmona could say about contentious issues like abortion or the morning after pill.
Pro-abortion Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy alleged that emails obtained about conversations between top White House officials and Carmona’s staff show evidence of the pressure.
Kennedy is the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and he wrote to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt asking for copies of communications involving Carmona and his department.
Kennedy made public on Thursday several emails that he claims prove his point.
One email says that Carmona "needs to be the Surgeon General with specific speeches, to specific audiences, on specific topics addressing the Secretary’s and the President’s agenda."
The email, from April 2003, said those speeches "will become more political as the re-elect gets underway."
Kennedy told Reuters that "Other documents reveal that the White House was directly involved in efforts to politicize the Surgeon General’s office."
He also claims to have information about White House officials trying to limit or censor the remarks of top government scientists on issues like embryonic stem cell research that would have gone against President Bush
White House spokesman Tony Fratto told the media that he had no comment and that he was unaware of any Bush administration officials attempting to influence scientists or the content of Carmona’s speeches.
"If Dr. Carmona had concerns, he had an obligation to raise them when he was in the job," Fratto said.
Carmona’s term expired last summer. His highest profile action was releasing a report condemning second-hand smoke.
Bush announced his new nominee, James Holsinger, in May and he immediately came under attack from abortion advocates.
Holsinger is an accomplished physician who has led one of the nation’s largest healthcare systems in Kentucky and the University of Kentucky’s medical center.
He also has taught at several American medical schools, and he served more than three decades in the United States Army Reserve, retiring in 1993 as a Major General.
In nominating Dr. Holsinger for the post, President Bush said he would be responsible for "providing the best scientific information available on how Americans can make smart choices that improve their health and reduce their risk of illness and injury."
But Planned Parenthood wants him to promote their agenda instead and issued a press release saying they want Holsinger to push the morning after pill, which a recent study showed can work as an abortion drug.
They also called on him to push comprehensive sexual education instead of relying on programs that emphasize abstinence to help teenagers avoid pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.