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The Hager Reappointment: God & the FDA

| Monday, July 5, 2004

W. David Hager, physician and author, is conspicuously anti-abortion. He promotes a Christian perspective within the context of teaching and practicing reproductive medicine.

As a member of the Food and Drug Administration's advisory panel on reproductive drugs, he was one of four out of 28 to oppose the over-the-counter sale of morning-after contraceptives. The minority view carried the day. FDA officials denied the application, citing the lack of evidence that the so-called "Plan B" is safe for girls under 16.

According to the overwhelming weight of medical opinion, over-the-counter sales of Plan B would be safe. Period.

The government's interest ends there. After that, the churches are welcome to assert their rights to free speech, freedom of association and freedom from government intrusion to persuade others to Christian living.

Dr. Hager is a lightning rod for the fury of women's-rights advocates because he sticks up with purpose so high from the crowd. We welcome his opinions on abortion and contraception as part of the debate on what people should freely choose as social norms.

But the FDA is asking Hager to stay on at least one more year -- striking against science and for the religious reinterpretation of the FDA's role.

With God on their side, why do folks so often court the relatively petty powers of government as their enforcer?

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