Good Medicine, Bad Politics

    Liberal intolerance of Christians is nothing new. Congressman Tom DeLay was bitterly assailed for saying, "Christianity offers a comprehensive worldview that covers all areas of life and thought" -- and he said it, not on the House floor, but at a church. And then there's the list of qualified, conservative judges unjustly booted out the door. The subject of the latest attack is Dr. W. David Hager. Dr. Hager is under consideration for membership on the Food and Drug Administration's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. It has not met for two years and currently has no members. The committee is in "dire need of being resuscitated," as one official put it, and meetings are planned for this November. A leak from the FDA to Time magazine, however, began a firestorm against Dr. Hager. Time claims he is "scantily credentialed." It belittled him for writing As Jesus Cared for Women and co-authoring Stress and the Woman's Body, in which he emphasizes "the restorative power of Jesus in one's life." But detractors ignore Hager's distinguished medical and academic credentials. Board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, Dr. Hager has cared for thousands of women and delivered more than 5,500 babies. He has served on the faculty of Emory University's and Kentucky University's Schools of Medicine. He was a clinical research investigator for the Centers for Disease Control and served as Assistant Surgeon of the U.S. Public Health Service. Dr. Hager has authored 41 articles in publications like the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Journal of Reproductive Medicine. Further, he is the editor of two textbooks both published by well-regarded medical publishers. And both Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping named him one of the "Best Doctors for Women." Nevertheless, the smear campaign continues. "This administration seems to have expanded its faith-based initiative to faith-based medicine," said Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York. "A person who . . . chooses not to separate his evangelical religious beliefs from his medical and scientific judgment" should not be on the panel, said Kim Gandy of the National Organization for Women. Christians, they argue, have to leave their faith at the door before working in the government. This, in addition to being wrong, is really just a smokescreen. The real issue here is abortion. Dr. Hager supports the citizens petition questioning the safety of RU-486, the abortion pill. The petition demonstrates its medical dangers, which are greater than those of the average drug, and it spotlights the lax approval process for RU-486. It simply did not undergo the scrutiny other drugs face. To put all this controversy in perspective, Hager hasn't even been nominated yet, and he's already being vilified. Moreover, he'll only be one voice on an eleven-member panel. But as our Council for Biotechnology Policy fellow Dr. David Stevens noted, this is about "an FDA that does not want to be scrutinized." Claude Allen of the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Food and Drug Administration, defends the Bush administration's goal of creating advisory committees with diverse views. Dr. Hager would be an asset to this kind of committee and must not be run out because of anti-Christian bigotry. Take action: Send an e-mail to Dr. Lester Crawford, deputy commissioner of the FDA ( and Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (, expressing your support for Dr. David Hager. For further reading: See Christian Medical Association's information page on Dr. Hager. Read the citizen petition against RU-486. Marvin Olasky, "Hager Isn't Horrible," World, 2 November 2002. Kathryn Jean Lopez, "Your Kind Not Welcome," National Review Online, 15 October 2002. Christine Hall, "Liberals Decry Religious Influence in Health Policy," CNS News, 23 October 2002. Ceci Connolly, "Hill Group Faults HHS for Ideology," Washington Post, 22 October 2002, A25. Karen Tumulty, "Jesus and the FDA," Time, 5 October 2002. Lisa Richwine, "Possible FDA Appointee Draws Fire on Beliefs," Reuters, 17 October 2002. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Bush's Science Advisers Drawing Criticism," New York Times, 10 October 2002 (free registration required). Andrew Wolfson, "Controversial doctor may lead FDA panel," Louisville Courier-Journal, 10 October 2002. John Fischer, Fearless Faith (Harvest House, 2002).


Chuck Colson


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