Philosophy with Attitude

February 26, 2003: Letter to George W. Bush, regarding his appointment of Dr. David Hagar to the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee

Dear Mr. President,

Although there are many issues on which we disagree (including the "necessity" of war with Iraq and the snubbing of our longtime allies; misplaced tax credits to the very rich while the middle and lower classes suffer; and a complete lack of affordable health care for people like myself, well-educated individuals whose jobs do not offer health insurance, yet for whom Medicaid and other programs are not an option), I am today merely offering my objection to the appointment of Dr. W. David Hagar to the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee.  While I am aware that your administration means to push its anti-choice agenda as far as it can go, I do not believe that such partisan and non-medical opinions belong on a committee whose purpose is primarily to decide which drugs are safe and which are not. 

 Dr. Hagar's explicitly Christian viewpoint, while no doubt a great personal asset to him, does not take into account the differing views of millions of American citizens.  I believe the purpose of the government of the United States is primarily to protect *all* of its citizens, no matter what their viewpoints may be, and by appointing such a narrow-minded and dogmatic individual to the committee, you are instead doing a great disservice to American women, who need all the reproductive choices we can have. 

The decision of whether to conceive a child or not is a difficult one, and should never be undertaken lightly.  This nation needs more children who are truly wanted, not merely accidental, and only effective contraceptives can guarantee such a future.  Mature couples will not accept "abstinence only" as an option; sex is an expression of love, even when children are not explicitly desired.  For many women, medical conditions like polycystic ovaries necessitate taking hormonal contraceptives to maintain their health; for others, financial and medical considerations make childbearing a dangerous prospect for large portions of their lives.  To deny these women -- and the rest of us -- effective contraceptives and other options would be a travesty, yet that is what Dr. Hagar's practice and publications suggest he would work toward. 

In closing, I believe you should look at the larger picture of healthcare for women before appointing a man such as Dr. Hagar to this influential and necessary committee.  Political views have no place in deciding the safety and effectiveness of drugs, period.  Win your right-wing voters elsewhere, please.

Jan Andrea

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