Democratic Women Leaders Condemn Bush Administration Efforts to Undermine Women's Health

February 27, 2007
Today, the Washington Post asks the question, "When is $4 million really $2.8 million?" and continues:

One answer is "When you're a woman," as the Labor Department has repeatedly found that women earn about 75 cents for every dollar that men earn for the same work.

But this week's answer is "When you are the Office of Women's Health" within the Food and Drug Administration. That office, which was at the center of a politically damaging storm over the emergency contraceptive "Plan B," just had more than one-quarter of this year's $4 million operating budget quietly removed, insiders say.

Leaders of the Democratic Women's Working Group condemned reported efforts by the Bush Administration, citing the Washington Post's report that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is withholding $1.2 million of the $4 million operating budget appropriated by Congress for the Office of Women's Health.

The Office of Women's Health operates within the Food and Drug Administration and is charged with funding research on male-female biological differences to ensure that women receive the most appropriate drug doses and treatments. The office also produces essential health information about menopause, pregnancy, birth control, osteoporosis and other topics. Last year the office was involved in a controversial political dispute over the use of the emergency contraceptive "Plan B."

Rep. Capps"This Administration has a troubling history of efforts to undermine the Office of Women's Health. This is yet another example of taking away critical resources from women's health when we should be providing additional support for these efforts. The scientific community has just begun to realize the benefits of conducting health research that focuses on women and these cut will jeopardize that life saving progress. Time and again we have seen this Administration place political agendas above protecting the interests of women's health. Even more disturbing is the appearance that this raid on the budget for the Office of Women's Health is payback for a scientifically based decision that contradicted the Administration's political agenda."

- Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA), a registered nurse, serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health and is the co-chair of the House Cancer Caucus

Rep. Schakowsky"Instead of fully funding the Office of Women's Health, the Bush Administration has decided to exact political revenge on an office that not only provides essential services to women, but has also been speaking out on a number of critical issues. It is time that this Administration stopped playing politics with women's health issues and instead provided the necessary funding to support these critical issues."

- Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

Rep. Solis"The Bush Administration's politicization of science at agencies like the FDA has reached new heights with this proposed funding cut for the Office of Women's Health. Instead of working to improve women's health, the FDA is effectively shutting down this important office as payback for the scientifically-based approval of Plan B. We must work together in Congress to sustain funding for the Office of Women's Health so that vital women's health research is not halted for political retribution."

- Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA)