Most Americans, I believe, labor under the assumption that when Congress appropriates funds for some federal office or agency, barring emergencies, the funds will materialize as appropriated. At the very least, I think most Americans trust that presidential administrations will not withhold monies duly appropriated by Congress in order to punish agencies for supporting courses of action which irritate the President and the Administration for some reason. In fact, that trust and belief is misplaced, in that the Bush Administration apparently has no problem cutting funds in retribution for anti-conservative activism, as a story now unfolding demonstrates.
Last week word came down that the FDA intends to withhold $1.2 million of the $4 million budgeted for the Office of Women’s Health, effectively halting further operations for the rest of the year, in that $2.8 million of the $4 million has already been spent or otherwise allocated. Women’s health advocates believe this might be the payback they have been fearing for the ruckus the Office of Women’s Health caused when it advocated for nonprescription sales of Plan B, emergency contraception which can prevent pregnancy if contraceptives fail or for women who have been raped or had unprotected sex. A compromise was reached last August allowing over-the-counter sales of Plan B to people at least 18 years old, but not before the head of the Office of Women’s Health had resigned.
If what appears to be a slashing of this budget actually is retribution for the OWC’s support of nonprescription Plan B, it may, some say, mean the Office of Women’s Health is slated for elimination. The OWC was created in 1994 when it was recognized that women had special needs which were being given short shrift by the FDA. Since its creation, the OWC has published more than 200 research articles in scientific journals, and OWC fact sheets and publications have generated record-breaking responses.
Link, and thanks to pony for the heads up.