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Disability in America: Toward a National Agenda for Prevention
calls for providing access to effective family planning and prenatal services, including pregnancy termination). CDC never exerted any pressure to remove material from the report or to influence the findings of the committee. As for the blind-copied correspondence Dr. Stone mentions, we consider this merely an expeditious method for informing the sponsor of the status and progress of the committee's deliberations—not an attempt to conceal information. The information conveyed in that correspondence was routine and nonconfidential, and in no way violated the confidentiality of committee deliberations or led to constraints in its independence of action.
Dr. Stone raises two other troubling points that we believe should not go unaddressed. First, with respect to her allegation that recommendation 1 in the report was made "unreflectively," we must once again note that Dr. Stone did not participate in the discussions that led to this recommendation and therefore has no knowledge on which to base this judgment. In addition, the committee was asked not to assess the disability-related programs of all federal government agencies but instead to "recommend a system for the development of a strong, effective, and coordinated effort for the prevention of disability." In executing this part of our charge, we came to realize that, far from showing preference for a sponsor, we had developed something of a bias against recommending CDC leadership in order to avoid any appearance of unwarranted preference. Objective consideration, however, of the merits of CDC leadership (its demonstrated strength and success in prevention activities through epidemiology, surveillance, and technology transfer, and its emphasis—unlike most other federal disability-related programs—on prevention rather than service delivery or rehabilitation research) led to the committee's recommendation that the existing Disabilities Prevention Program at CDC be expanded to serve as the focus of a National Disability Prevention Program.
In arriving at this judgment the committee called on the expertise and knowledge of its members to compare administrative structures and operations of some of the federal agencies that might accommodate a National Disability Prevention Program. Among our ranks are a former U.S. surgeon general and assistant secretary for health, a former director of the National Center for Health Statistics, and two former directors of what is now the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. As is common in considering the organization, coordination, and development of federal programs, the committee relied on these experts to provide first-hand experience in these areas and supplement the limited documentation available in the public domain.
A second point Dr. Stone raises regarding the quality of the report is that of the strategy developed by the committee to formulate the national agenda on disability. As background to this matter, it is important to understand that most of Dr. Stone's substantive comments and recommendations focus on primary prevention—for example, prenatal testing and abortion, gun control,