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September 1, 2005
Official Quits on Pill Delay at the F.D.A.
By GARDINER HARRIS
The director of the Food and Drug Administration's office of women's health resigned yesterday to protest the agency's decision last week to further delay approving over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill.
"I feel very strongly that this shouldn't be about abortion politics," the director, Dr. Susan F. Wood, who is an assistant F.D.A. commissioner, said in a telephone interview. "This is a way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and thereby prevent abortion. This should be something that we should all agree on."
In an e-mail message to staff members, Dr. Wood wrote that she could no longer serve at the agency "when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled."
In the interview, Dr. Wood said that she "doesn't find persuasive" the explanations offered Friday by the commissioner of food and drugs, Lester M. Crawford, to justify the agency's decision regarding the morning-after pill, known as Plan B. And she said the agency was unlikely to make a decision on the Plan B application "in the foreseeable future."