Senators Block Confirmation of FDA Commissioner Over EC
In a repeat of last spring's battle over the confirmation of the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) have announced that they will block the confirmation of Andrew von Eschenbach until the FDA rules on making the emergency contraceptive Plan B available over-the-counter. Last spring, they announced a similar hold on the nomination of Lester Crawford, which they lifted when the Secretary of Health and Human Services promised a decision by September 1, 2005. In a shocking turnaround, the FDA announced another delay on Plan B following Crawford’s confirmation. Soon afterwards, Crawford resigned, and von Eschenbach has been acting as interim commissioner.
Now, von Eschenbach faces a confirmation battle of his own, as Clinton and Murray have restated their demands, and seem to be taking a harder line. On National Public Radio, Murray said, “This time around, we are being very firm. The FDA needs to follow its own rules and make a decision, yes or no, on Plan B. And their credibility is at stake. We will hold up this nomination until that decision is made.” Testifying before Congress a month ago, von Eschenbach stated that science, not politics, would be the deciding factor in approving nonprescription sales of Plan B, but did not provide a timetable for an FDA decision.
4/17/2014 Supreme Court of India Recognizes Transgender Rights - India's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that official documents must allow transgender people to identify as a third gender and directed the federal and state governments to include transgender people, known as hijras, in welfare programs such as education, health care, and job programs.
"All documents will now have a third category marked 'transgender,'" said Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a transgender activist who petitioned the court. . . .