The latest liberal attempt to blacklist pro-life conservatives
failed last week. The Bush administration finally appointed W. David Hager,
a University of Kentucky obstetrician-gynecologist, to the Food and Drug
Administration's advisory committee for reproductive health drugs.
Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt must be hoarse now,
because she screamed for over two months about Hager, who committed the sin
of vigorously questioning the safety to mothers of the abortion pill RU-486
(mifepristone). Feldt called the appointment of Hager and two other gutsy
pro-life doctors, Joseph B. Stanford of the University of Utah and Susan A.
Crockett of University of Texas Health Center at San Antonio, "a Christmas
gift to religious extremists."
Frenzied media and Democratic Party objections to the
appointment have been extraordinary for two reasons. First, the appointment
is to an advisory committee, one that makes no decisions. Advisory
committees are usually constituted in a way to make sure that the actual
decisionmakers get advice from a variety of perspectives. This appointment
should have been no big deal, but Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton made it
Second, those objecting to Hager seem to live in a country other
than the United States. The Des Moines Register editorial board was shocked
that Hager has said that the place to find safe sex is "within marriage."
Hasn't the explosion of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) taught us that?
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd complained that since Hager does not
ignore his Christian beliefs when grappling with social problems, he is
trying to bring back "medievalism." But Dowd was one of the leading
complainers about Bill Clinton's Bible-plus-adultery compartmentalizing.
Hager's appointment is an excellent one for three reasons.
First, he has the credentials. Hager received the "Outstanding Physician in
America Award" from Modern Healthcare magazine in 1994. This year, Ladies
Home Journal named him one of the "Best Doctors for Women" in the Southeast.
His work has been published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and
Gynecology, the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, and the Journal of the
American Medical Association. He's edited two textbooks -- "Infection
Protocols for Obstetrics and Gynecology" (1992) and "Protocols for
Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology" (1999) -- put out by
highly regarded medical publishers.
Second, Hager represents tens of millions of Americans who have
faith in Christ and believe that his teaching is relevant all through the
week, not just for an hour on Sunday morning. It's good to have a variety of
views on advisory committees: Why should a biblical view be excluded? As
David Stevens, executive director of the Christian Medical Association, put
it, "If being a-religious is the criteria for public service, then most of
our founding fathers would have been disqualified."
Third, Hager's compassionate conservatism animates the work at
his Women's Care Center in Lexington, Ky. Recalling the treatment of a
17-year-old girl suffering from sores caused by an incurable STD, he said,
"She was shattered when I explained to her that she had contracted a disease
from this person who told her that she was the only person he had sex with."
He added, "It's one thing to see how an STD organism reproduces in the lab;
it's another to see how it destroys young people's lives, and, well, you
just don't get over seeing that."
The cultural left in America is trying to silence those who do
not get over seeing the real-life consequences of the sexual revolution.
Gloria Feldt and her allies try to inflict damage on any social conservative
who gets even minor attention and in that way drive a wedge between
moderates and conservatives. It's excellent that in this relatively minor
appointment the Bush administration stared down congressional and media
liberals. The big battles -- like those involving Supreme Court seats -- are
still to come. Those appointees, after all, do more than advise.