Family Planning Official Resigns
The doctor in charge of the Bush administration's family planning programs resigned yesterday after revealing that state Medicaid officials had taken action against his private medical practice in Massachusetts.
Eric Keroack, an obstetrician-gynecologist, became deputy assistant secretary for population affairs in November, advising Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt on matters such as reproductive health and adolescent pregnancy. He oversaw $283 million in annual family planning grants designed to provide access to contraceptive supplies, especially for low-income people.
Family planning advocates panned the pick, noting that Keroack also had served as medical director of A Woman's Concern, a nonprofit Christian pregnancy counseling organization in Massachusetts that on its Web site opposed the distribution of contraceptives as "demeaning to women."
In an e-mail to colleagues yesterday, Keroack said he was resigning to focus on appealing the action by Massachusetts Medicaid officials. HHS officials declined to provide more details, and state Medicaid officials could not be reached.
"It's a good day for women's health," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "Keroack was unqualified to run the nation's family planning program. . . . The nation's family planning program should be run by a champion for women's health and safety."
-- Christopher Lee