Press

Task Force challenges Holsinger nomination to become U.S. surgeon general

Date: 
July 11, 2007

Media Contact:
Roberta Sklar, Communications Director
(Office) 646.358.1465
(Cell) 917.704.6358
rsklar@theTaskForce.org


Congressional testimony by a former U.S. surgeon general who says Bush administration pressured him to suppress important public health reports is additional cause for concern

“Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona’s profoundly disturbing testimony yesterday underscores why Dr. James W. Holsinger has been nominated to succeed him: The Bush administration not only expects but demands that right-wing ideology and partisan politics triumph over science and they know Dr. Holsinger will compliantly deliver.”
— Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

WASHINGTON, July 11 — Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona told a congressional panel yesterday that top Bush administration officials repeatedly tried to suppress important public health reports because of political considerations. Carmona testified that the administration prohibited him from speaking or issuing reports on the subjects of emergency contraception, sex education, stem cells or global health issues, among other topics. In addition, Carmona said top officials tried to “water down” a landmark report on secondhand smoke and delayed it for years.

A Senate committee is scheduled to hold a hearing tomorrow on President Bush’s highly controversial surgeon general nominee, Dr. James Holsinger, whose past writings and actions seriously call into question his ability to address the health needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the surgeon general is “America’s chief health educator, giving Americans the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury.” Holsinger’s nomination has been widely questioned, including in editorials in The Washington Post and The New York Times. The Post called on senators “to determine — at a minimum — whether his judgment of sound science and best medical practices has improved since 1991,” when he argued that gay sex was unhealthy and unnatural. The Times stated “the Senate should not confirm a surgeon general who considers practicing homosexuals abnormal and diseased.”

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona’s profoundly disturbing testimony yesterday underscores why Dr. James W. Holsinger has been nominated to succeed him: The Bush administration not only expects but demands that right-wing ideology and partisan politics triumph over science and they know Dr. Holsinger will compliantly deliver.

“Our nation deserves better and we call upon the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to reject this shameful nomination. We also call upon Congress to pass laws that will protect all future surgeon generals from political pressure from the executive branch.”

-30-

The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.