- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 3, 2001

Surgeon General David Satcher, a Clinton appointee who drew the anger of the Bush White House over the summer with a medical report on sexuality, says he will leave the government in February.
"My term ends on February 13, and I don't plan to stay on," Dr. Satcher said yesterday.
Asked if he would like to stay on, Dr. Satcher said, "That's not an issue for me."
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson praised Dr. Satcher, but when asked if he would recommend to Mr. Bush that the doctor be retained as surgeon general, he said: "That is not my decision. That is a decision that Dr. Satcher and the president will have to make."
Dr. Satcher rankled the White House over the summer when his office released a report that found there was no evidence showing that teaching sexual abstinence in schools was successful. It called for schools to encourage abstinence among students but to also teach birth-control techniques.
Additionally, the report found that there was no evidence that a homosexual person could become heterosexual.
The report drew a sharp retort from Mr. Bush's spokesman Ari Fleischer and demands from social conservatives for Dr. Satcher's resignation.
"The president understands the report was issued by a surgeon general that he did not appoint, a surgeon general who was appointed by the previous administration," said Mr. Fleischer at the time. "The president continues to believe that abstinence and abstinence education is the most effective way to prevent AIDS, to prevent unwanted pregnancy."
Dr. Satcher said he was not taking sides in a political discussion but reflecting what scientific research showed.
"We try to make very clear what's needed to improve sexual health and what's supported by the science," he said in an interview at the time.
Dr. Satcher became the 16th U.S. surgeon general in 1998 after confirmation opposition led in the Senate by then-Sen. John Ashcroft, Missouri Republican, who is now Mr. Bush's attorney general.
The 60-year-old Dr. Satcher was born in Anniston, Ala., and raised in an era when poor black families such as his had little access to medical care in his state. The experience helped his resolve to become a doctor.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide