After serving as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner for two months, Lester Crawford on Friday announced his resignation. Crawford, who served as acting commissioner for more than a year prior to being confirmed, wrote in his resignation letter that “it is time at the age of 67 to step aside.” Christina Pearson, a spokesperson for Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, would not answer questions from reporters about whether the Bush Administration had asked Crawford to resign, saying she could not comment on “a personnel issue,” according to the New York Times.
Susan Wood, director of the FDA’s Office on Women’s Health, had just resigned several weeks ago in protest over the FDA placing politics above medical science in its decision making process on over-the-counter status for emergency contraception (EC). Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) had blocked Crawford’s confirmation until Leavitt agreed to take action on EC by September 1, but then a week before the deadline Crawford and Leavitt double-crossed the Senators and announced another delay on EC.
Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, director of the National Cancer Institute, will serve as interim FDA commissioner.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .