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FDA to reappoint contraception opponent to advisory committee

FDA to reappoint contraception opponent to advisory committee

The Bush administration has requested David Hager, an outspoken opponent of abortion rights and contraception use, to continue to serve on the Food and Drug Administration's Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs for at least one more year, The Washington Post reports. Harris, who was appointed to the committee in 2003, participated in a Christian Medical Association campaign to overturn a 1996 FDA committee recommendation that led to the approval of the drug mifepristone, which is used in abortion procedures. Hager, a University of Kentucky obstetrician, was one of four committee members who voted against recommending over-the-counter status for the emergency contraceptive Plan B; 23 committee members voted to approve the medication. The full FDA broke from long-standing tradition in rejecting over-the-counter approval status of the drug despite being urged to approve the classification by both Hager's committee and another FDA panel. Women's and reproductive rights advocates say the FDA's decision to reject the panels' advice was due to pressure from the White House. Several members of the U.S. House of Representatives last week sent a letter to President Bush opposing Hager's reappointment. The letter, signed by representatives Jim Greenwood (R-Pa.), Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), said Hager's opposition to "so many safe and legal options makes him unfit to serve on this key advisory committee." Hager's reappointment also is opposed by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Hager said he is honored to be asked to continue to serve and intends to remain on the panel for at least one more year.

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