President George W. Bush might have taken a "thumping" in the election last week, but that hasn't exactly made him humble when it comes to presidential appointments. First he renominated a handful of controversial judicial nominees who couldn't even get confirmed when the Senate was in GOP hands. Then he made a controversial appointment that doesn't require congressional approval: Today, the administration named Dr. Eric Keroack deputy assistant secretary for population affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services. Though it's not a high profile job, the post oversees the nation's family planning program, making sure low-income women get access to birth control.
That might be an odd fit for Keroack. He is medical director of five Boston-area "crisis pregnancy centers" that use ultrasounds to convince women not to have abortions. The centers, called A Woman's Concern, also emphasize abstinence and are participating in a campaign for the "Sanctity of Human Life Month." Keroack is also on the medical advisory council of the Abstinence Clearinghouse. Not surprisingly, his appointment didn't go over well with the family planning crowd. "The appointment of anti-birth control, anti-sex education advocate Dr. Eric Keroack to oversee the nation's family planning program is striking proof that the Bush administration remains dramatically out of step with the nation's priorities," Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards emailed in a statement. According to a spokesperson at the office of population affairs, Keroack is due to start work on Monday.