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.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .