Bush surgeon general nominee defends self

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WASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush’s nominee for surgeon general insisted Thursday that he harbors no bias against homosexuals in spite of his 1991 writings viewed by some as anti-gay.

Dr. James Holsinger faced tough questioning at his Senate confirmation hearing over his views on homosexuality and how he would react if he were pressured to put politics ahead of science in his role as the nation’s doctor.

“I would resign,” Holsinger said emphatically.

Concerns about his independence were spurred by former Surgeon General Richard Carmona’s testimony two days earlier that the Bush administration muzzled him on issues such as abstinence education and stem-cell research because of politics.

A vote on the nomination of Holsinger, a Kentucky doctor, wasn’t expected for several weeks.

At Thursday’s hearing, he distanced himself from a paper he wrote 16 years ago that has been attacked by gay rights organizations and public health experts as inaccurate and inflammatory. The paper cited data showing elevated rates of disease among gay men, but some medical experts say he completely ignored other data that would contradict the paper’s point that homosexuality is an abnormal function.


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