a bird and a bottle

Women’s Health 25% Less Important This Year
March 2, 2007, 9:06 am
Filed under: feminism/s & gender, news, politics, reproductive justice, sexuality

…Or so says the FDA.

The FDA this week announced plans to withhold $1.2 million of the $4 million budgeted for the Office of Women’s Health (itself not even created until 19-freaking-94) , which was at the center of a maelstrom of controversy surrounding the over-the-counter approval of the morning after pill (Plan B) last year. Of the $2.8 million left, all of it has already been budgeted for current projects, salaries, and other overhead; this means the Office will be unable to begin any new research or projects in the coming year.

Given that the budget was a paltry $4 mil to begin with — and had been stagnant for the last several years — what’s your best guess on why it was cut this year, of all others? I’m gonna go with this: The budget was cut as punishment for approving over-the-counter access to Plan B for adult women (note that teens still need a prescription). Apparently, women’s health advocates inside and outside the FDA have been waiting for this backlash…well here it is. Don’t you just love it when government administrators act like 4 year olds (with apologies to 4-year-olds).

When grilled on the budget cut yesterday, FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach (who probably has a grudge because his confirmation was held up in the Senate until OTC Plan B was approved) said that, while there might be a decrease in women’s health funding, it was “not to be viewed as a reduction of our commitment to women’s health.” It would be hard for this administration to have any *less* of a commitment to women’s health than it had before….

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