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The administration's anti-woman nut

By Nicole Colson | October 18, 2002 | Page 2

W. DAVID HAGER may soon become the chair of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) panel on women's health policy. Only problem is, Hager doesn't have a very high opinion of women.

In addition to being an obstetrician-gynecologist, Hager is a right-wing Christian fundamentalist--and his religious affiliation seems to have contributed to his ideas about women's health more than his medical knowledge.

Along with his wife, Hager authored Stress and the Woman's Body, which suggests that women to use Scripture readings to cure their physical ailments. For headaches, Hager recommends a verse from Matthew 13:44-46, and for premenstrual syndrome, he suggests Romans 5:1-11, "Tribulation worketh patience."

Hager also believes that women today should thank Jesus for their liberation. "Jesus stood up for women at a time when women were second-class citizens," he wrote. "I often say, if you are liberated, a woman's libber, you can thank Jesus for that."

Naturally, Hager is an anti-abortion nut. He has lobbied the FDA to reverse its approval of the abortion pill RU-486. And Hager says that he "prefers" to not dispense contraceptives to single women, instead urging abstinence. Hager is also the editor of a book that contains a chapter--which he now says he disagrees with--called "Using the Birth Control Pill is Ethically Unacceptable."

Hager was chosen for the post by FDA Senior Associate Commissioner Linda Arey Skladany--a former drug industry lobbyist with ties to the Bush family.

FDA advisory panels often have a big say over major questions of health policy. If the Bush administration succeeds in getting Hager appointed to a four-year term, he will lead its study of hormone-replacement therapy for menopausal women, one of the biggest controversies in health care today.

The idea that this bigot could be put in charge of a panel that oversees new developments in women's health care is infuriating. We can't let the Bush administration roll back the clock on women's health.

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