Retiring FDA commissioner Lester Crawford had a reputation for pushing bunk right-wing science on behalf of anti-choice activists. Unfortunately, President Bush plans to replace Crawford with Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, who also has a reputation for pushing bunk right-wing science on behalf of anti-choice activists.
Von Eschenbach is currently the director of the National Cancer Institute. Within months of his appointment in 2002, the institute abruptly altered a fact sheet on its website “that for years stated the absence of a link between abortion and breast cancer.” Under von Eschenbach, the language was changed to suggest that tests disproving the abortion/breast cancer link were “inconclusive.”
This sent the scientific community into an uproar. Numerous studies, including a massive New England Journal of Medicine study of 1.5 million Danish women, have discounted any connection between abortion and breast cancer. Yet right-wingers continue to push the link as a way to frighten women considering having an abortion.
After enormous pressure, and a statement by 100 institute scientists, von Eschenbach backed down. Yet von Eschenbach’s promotion shows that the days of ideology trumping science at the FDA aren’t over. (Now it’s time for the media to pay attention — not a single mainstream story on the FDA personnel changes has mentioned this controversy.)