Saturday, November 18, 2006

Maybe it was opposite day

Sometimes I wonder if the current administration is truly clueless or simply has a warped sense of humor (malicious is possible, but I really hate to think that). Why do I bring it up? It's the latest appointment to the department of Health and Human Services, the new chief of family planning programs, Dr. Eric Keroack.
Keroack, an obstetrician-gynecologist, will advise Secretary Mike Leavitt on matters such as reproductive health and adolescent pregnancy. He will oversee $283 million in annual family-planning grants that, according to the department, are "designed to provide access to contraceptive supplies and information to all who want and need them with priority given to low-income persons." (from the LA Times)
He's not merely an OB-GYN, though, he also heads the non-profit group A Woman's Concern, which actively opposes contraception.
"A Woman's Concern is persuaded that the crass commercialization and distribution of birth control is demeaning to women, degrading of human sexuality and adverse to human health and happiness," the group's policy statement on contraception says.
Yup, being able to have sex without the concern of getting pregnant is really degrading. Maybe if the good doctor indicated that his views on sex and birth control were based on his religious beliefs, I'd have a bit of respect for him. Of course that isn't the case. He actually uses bad science arguments to support his arguments on abstinence.

Are we going to see millions of tax-payer dollars spent on ineffective "abstinence only" programs? Probably. Will we see a decrease in teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases? Probably not. Could there be a less appropriate ob-gyn to give advice on family planning? Probably, but not by much.

Jessica at Feministing is much more blunt in her criticism of the appointment.
Corpus Callosum points out a presentation gen by Dr. Keroack in which he equates pre-marital sex to MODERN GERM WARFARE (Keroack's caps, not mine).

Other interesting (in a depressing way) links: has a report on the movement in the US to ban birth control.

• The Washington Post has reported that some Federally-funded abstinence-only programs actively lie to teens.
Many American youngsters participating in federally funded abstinence-only programs have been taught over the past three years that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, that half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus, and that touching a person's genitals "can result in pregnancy," a congressional staff analysis has found.
• The teen birth rate hit a record low in the year 2000. Births to teens (age 15-19) were half the 1957 rate. Part of the reason for the decline: "higher rates of contraceptive use at first intercourse and a shift to highly reliable hormonal methods" of birth control. Even so, the teen birth rate in the US is the highest among developed countries. Interestingly, the South has the highest teen birth rates in the US, which I associate with conservative "family values". Perhaps they simply haven't gotten the message about birth control.

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