Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Jessica at Feministing highlights this find from a WaPo article profiling controversial HHS nominee, Eric Keroack:
Pearson also acknowledged yesterday that Keroack is not currently certified as an obstetrician-gynecologist. That is not a requirement for the job, but HHS officials had cited Keroack's expertise in defending his selection.
Yeah, they did kind of pump up that "expertise" in selling this abstinence-only quack, as Jessica points out:
"An HHS spokeswoman said Keroack is a skilled doctor and a nationally recognized expert on preventing teenage pregnancy. 'We have confidence that he'll perform his duties effectively and in accordance with the law,' HHS spokeswoman Christina Pearson said by e-mail."
"John O. Agwunobi, assistant secretary for health, said Keroack 'is highly qualified and a well-respected physician . . . working primarily with women and girls in crisis.'"
A highly qualified health professional who doesn't bother to keep track of when his board certification expires. Keroack's nomination is a joke, and an offensive one at that. HHS's Office of Population Affairs, the unit he began overseeing on Monday, funds contraceptive programs, pregnancy testing, and STD screening and counseling. Having the former medical director of a crisis pregnancy center which provides no contraceptive services or counseling and which continues to push the fiction that abortion is linked to breast cancer, and who advocates abstinence until marriage over contraception and STD prevention in charge of these programs would be laughable if it wasn't so dangerous to the health of women.
House and Senate Democrats have reacted to the appointment, asking that HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt withdraw his nomination. From the Senate letter circulated by Barbara Boxer:
"Unfortunately, this appointment is another example of the administration allowing ideology to trump science, and it could jeopardize vital services on which large numbers of women and families depend," the letter said. Signers included incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who will be chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
The House letter, spearheaded by Henry Waxman, pulls no punches in it's conclusion:
Someone who oversees the provision of inaccurate medical information about an issue has crucial to women's health as breast cancer should not be responsible for overseeing the federal program that provides health services, including breast cancer detection services, for 5 million women a year. The medical director of a network whose policy was not to provide contraception or referrals for contraception--even to married couples--is not the appropriate person to administer a federal program designed to provide birth control and other reproductive services to American women.
We urge you to rescind this appointment and appoint a professional who is committed to medical accuracy and access to safe and effective contraception.
Yeah, what Henry said.