In what country do liberal journalists live? And in what country do President Bush and officials of his Department of Health and Human Services want to live?
Frenzied media and Democratic Party objections to the prospective appointment of W. David Hager to an HHS advisory committee are extraordinary for two reasons. First, it's an advisory committee on reproductive health drugs. It doesn't make the decisions. Advisory committees are usually constituted in a way to make sure that the actual decision-makers receive advice from a variety of perspectives. This appointment should be no big deal, but Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton have made it one.
Second, those objecting to Dr. Hager seem to live in a country other than the United States. The Des Moines Register editorial board was shocked that Dr. Hager has said that the place to find safe sex is "within marriage." Hasn't the explosion of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) taught us that? New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd complained that since Dr. Hager has written that it is "dangerous" to compartmentalize life into "categories of Christian truth and secular truth," he is trying to bring back "medievalism." But Ms. Dowd was one of the leading complainers about Bill Clinton's Bible-plus-adultery compartmentalizing.
Dr. Hager's prospective appointment is an excellent one for three reasons. First, he has the credentials. Dr. Hager received the "Outstanding Physician in America Award" from Modern Healthcare magazine in 1994. This year Ladies Home Journal named him one of the "Best Doctors for Women" in the Southeast. His work has been published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. He's edited two textbooks-Infection Protocols for Obstetrics and Gynecology (1992) and Protocols for Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology (1999)-put out by highly regarded medical publishers.
Second, Dr. Hager represents tens of millions of Americans who have faith in Christ and believe that His teaching is relevant all through the week, not just for an hour on Sunday morning. It's good to have a variety of views on advisory committees: Why should a biblical view be excluded? As David Stevens, executive director of the Christian Medical Association, put it, "If being a-religious is the criteria for public service, then most of our Founding Fathers would have been disqualified."
Third, Dr. Hager is a compassionate conservative. WORLD reported a year ago (Aug. 11, 2001) how he treated at his Women's Care Center in Lexington, Ky., a 17-year-old girl suffering from sores caused by an incurable STD. He said, "She was shattered when I explained to her that she had contracted a disease from this person who told her that she was the only person he had sex with." He added, "It's one thing to see how an STD organism reproduces in the lab; it's another to see how it destroys young people's lives and, well, you just don't get over seeing that."
HHS needs advisors who do not get over seeing the real-life consequences of unsafe sex. President Bush knows well how empty are the natterings of the anti-Christian left, and he does not require senatorial approval to appoint Dr. Hager. He should do so.