Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Susan Wood Resigns

You most likely haven't heard of her. Neither did I. But she is a woman of principles, and she used to work for Bush's Food and Drug Administration:

A high-ranking Food and Drug Administration official resigned Wednesday in protest over the agency's refusal to allow over-the-counter sales of emergency contraception.

Susan Wood, director of FDA's Office of Women's Health, announced her resignation in an e-mail to colleagues at the agency. The e-mail was released by contraception advocates.

The FDA last Friday postponed indefinitely its decision on whether to allow the morning-after pill, called Plan B, to be sold without a prescription. The agency said it was safe for adults to use without a doctor's guidance but was unable to decide how to keep it out of the hands of young teenagers without a prescription -- a decision contrary to the advice of its own scientific advisers.

"I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled," wrote Wood, who also was assistant commissioner for women's health. "The recent decision announced by the Commissioner about emergency contraception, which continues to limit women's access to a product that would reduce unintended pregnancies and reduce abortions, is contrary to my core commitment to improving and advancing women's health."

But it's ultimately a fairly powerless act. Don't take me wrong, I admire her for her resignation. But resignation is resignation, in all terms of the word, and it will leave the Food and Drug Administration with fewer reality-people and with more faith-based fanatics. But maybe this is the only workable alternative right now: don't play wingnut games and watch the world collapse.