Office for Women's Health to Lose Funding

By Jessica Englund

I didn’t know it could get worse…

While browsing my favorite blogs and news sites for the first time since last week, I noticed that wherever I roamed, I heard about the FDA cutting the funding for the Office of Women’s Health. For those of you who do not know much about the Office for Women’s Health, here is their ‘mission’:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Women’s Health (OWH) serves as a champion for women’s health both within and outside the agency. To achieve its goals, OWH:
Ensures that FDA functions, both regulatory and oversight, remain gender sensitive and responsive;
Works to correct any identified gender disparities in drug, device and biologics testing, and regulation policy;
Monitors progress of priority women’s health initiatives within FDA;
Promotes an integrative and interactive approach regarding women’s health issues across all the organizational components of the FDA; and
Forms partnerships with government and non-government entities, including consumer groups, health advocates, professional organizations, and industry, to promote FDA’s women’s health objectives.

I suppose since women still make about 3/4 of what men make on average, it would be alright to justify cutting 1.2 million dollars of the allotted 4 million? According to the Washington Post, the Office for Women’s health really needs the remainder of their funding:

Because the remaining $2.8 million has already been spent or allocated for salaries and started projects, the office must effectively halt further operations for the rest of the year, according to a high-level agency official with knowledge of the budget plan, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official is not authorized to speak publicly.

According to feministing, without this funding, the office will be in a bind right away, not in a few months or years. What really makes me nervous is that this fiasco may be backlash against plan-b.

Women’s health advocates inside and outside the agency suspect they are witnessing, at least in part, a long-anticipated payback for the trouble the office stirred during the prolonged debate over nonprescription sales of Plan B. Taking a position that chafed the administration’s conservative base, the office had stood up for scientific research that had backed the safety and appropriateness of such sales.

On a more silly note, let us all take the advice of Bitch Ph.D:
“So, everyone: don’t get sick for the rest of the year, ‘kay?”

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