Thursday, March 01, 2007


Vital Women's Heath Office faces huge setback

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the Office of Women's Health of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received an unexpected $1.2 million cut to their $4 million dollar budget. The Office was established in 1994 in response to a growing body of scientific evidence that "some sex-based differences in biology warranted special regulatory attention -- and a recognition that other offices within the FDA did not have the time, money or expertise to focus on women's special needs." They were incidentally also instrumental in the approval of Plan B Contraceptives (the Morning After Pill) to be sold to those 18 and older-- a stance in opposition with the views of the current administration and FDA officials. They made clear their disapproval, and in 2005, the former director, Susan Wood, resigned because of the resistance the administration put up despite scientific research that supported the "safety and appropriateness" of Plan B availability.

The $1.2 billion dollar cut will, according to a member of the office, mostly prevent the office from doing further work for the remainder of 2007 due to previous assignment of the remainder of the funds.

Is this the beginning of the end of the office, experts are worried, says the article in the post.

Today, four senators (Hillary Clinton, D-NY, Barbara Mikulski, D-MD, Patty Murray, D-WA, and Olympia Snowe, R-ME), wrote a letter to the Commissioner of the FDA, Andrew von Eschenbach, asking that the budgeting be reconsidered, or at least explained to the senate. "As Congress moves forward with the budget and appropriations process, we will pursue every course to make certain that this funding is restored. We intend to use every tool at our disposal to make sure that the OWH has the resources it needs to safeguard women’s health." In that full text of their letter, they make the connection that a cut to the Office would be an attack on women's HEALTH-- this isn't even necessarily a choice issue.


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