Pro-life groups slam Biden's selection of pro-abortion 'radical' to head FDA

Food and Drug Administration
The headquarters of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seen in Silver Spring, Maryland, November 4, 2009. |

Pro-life groups have condemned President Joe Biden's nomination of a “pro-abortion radical” to lead the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Robert Califf’s nomination has received renewed attention after members of the Senate Health Committee questioned him Tuesday at his confirmation hearing. Biden announced Califf as his choice to serve as commissioner of the FDA last month. If confirmed, Califf would regain the role he briefly held during the latter part of the Obama administration. 

“Robert Califf is the wrong choice for FDA commissioner,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, in a statement. “His track record under [former President Barack] Obama provides evidence of his disregard for life and health.”

Dannenfelser expressed concerns about Califf’s actions to promote and increase the use of chemical abortions (abortion pills) during his previous tenure: “If confirmed, Califf will work hand-in-hand with Joe Biden, [Secretary of Health and Human Services] Xavier Becerra, and the radical abortion lobby to make every mailbox, post office and pharmacy in America function as an abortion center. He must not be confirmed. Senators on both sides of the aisle should want to ensure that any new FDA commissioner will put the safety of women and children first.”

Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, wrote a letter to members of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee expressing opposition to Califf’s confirmation: “Dr. Califf previously held this position during the Obama administration in 2016. Under his leadership, the FDA significantly weakened the health and safety standards, known as Risk Evaluation and Mitigation System (REMS), for chemical abortion pills, allowing them to be used as late as 10 weeks in pregnancy.”

“Additionally, women were no longer required to ingest the Chemical Abortion pills at the abortion facility dispensing the drugs. Instead, women were encouraged to take the drugs at home, essentially acting as an amateur abortionist and DIY-ing their own abortion. The FDA even removed the mandated complication report, leaving the abortion drug distributors accountable for only deaths, not harm,” she added.

After listing some of the complications caused by chemical abortions and the inadequate patient examinations at abortion clinics, including “life-threatening undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy and infertility due to lack of blood type screening,” Hawkins urged senators to “reject this blatantly partisan nomination.” 

Hawkins added: “Dr. Califf’s championing of chemical abortion without medical oversight — knowing the risks — proves he is motivated by political power, not the safety and wellbeing of the Americans he seeks to serve. Given the opportunity to lead the FDA once again, we fully expect Dr. Califf to continue his abuse of power and act as a radical abortion activist, disregarding the wellbeing of the American people.”

Pro-life concerns about Califf’s nomination to serve as FDA commissioner come as the debate about chemical abortion has reached a new level of intensity during the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, pro-abortion groups sued to allow women to obtain chemical abortions without first visiting a doctor, citing concerns about their health in light of the pandemic. 

A federal judge lifted the requirement that an abortionist must see patients in person before dispensing the abortion pills, which the U.S. Supreme Court later reimposed. After Biden took office earlier this year, the FDA temporarily lifted the ban on women obtaining abortion pills by mail. A group of House Democrats later called on the FDA to permanently allow women to take the abortion pills without seeing a doctor first.

In 2016, Califf received near-unanimous confirmation from the Senate, with all but four senators voting to approve his appointment. Three of the four senators who opposed his confirmation, all Democrats, remain in the Senate. The lone Republican to oppose Califf’s confirmation, then-Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., no longer serves in the chamber. 

This time, senators on the Democratic side of the aisle have once again expressed the most concern about Califf, albeit for reasons other than his position on chemical abortions. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who caucuses with Democrats, announced in a statement Tuesday that “Dr. Califf is not the leader Americans need at the FDA and I will oppose his nomination.” 

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., one of the four senators who opposed Califf in 2016, indicated his opposition this time as well, stating, “We need a leader who is ready for reform in pursuit of improving public health outcomes and Dr. Califf is not the candidate.” On the other hand, several Republicans told Politico they planned on supporting Califf, including Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., Susan Collins, R-Maine., Roger Marshall, R-Kan. and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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