Richard Carmona served as President Bush’s first Surgeon General from 2002-2006. Today he spoke before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and revealed that political appointees in the Bush administration muzzled him on key issues such as “stem cell research, contraceptives and his misgivings about the administration’s embrace of ‘abstinence-only’ sex education”:
[A]lthough most Americans believe that their Surgeon General has the ability to impact the course of public health as “the nation’s doctor,” the reality is that the nation’s doctor has been marginalized and relegated to a position with no independent budget, and with supervisors who are political appointees with partisan agendas. Anything that doesn’t fit into the political appointees’ ideological, theological, or political agenda is ignored, marginalized, or simply buried.
Watch it part of Carmona’s testimony:
Carmona revealed that when he tried to explain the science of stem cell research to the American public, he was “blocked at every turn, told a decision had already been made, stand down, don’t talk about it.” Additionally, political appointees were specifically assigned to “vet his speeches” and “spin [his] words in such a way that would be preferable to a political or ideologically pre-conceived notion that had nothing to do with science.” He was also barred from speaking freely to reporters.
On Thursday, the Senate will consider the nomination of Dr. James Holsinger to be the next Surgeon General. Perhaps not surprisingly, Bush has this time nominated someone who has repeatedly put ideology over sound science, peddling views of homosexuality that have been rejected by the medical community.
The Gavel has more.