Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Faith-based politics

Where do I start? It's infuriating, and I can't not say anything any longer. Please, go educate yourselves, and vote wisely.

1. From Harper's:
More than 60 prominent scientists, including 20 Nobel prize winners and 19 winners of the National Medal of Science, denounced the Bush Administration for its systematic distortion of scientific facts for political gain; John H. Marburger III, the administration's head of science and technology policy, dismissed the report and said that it was politically motivated.

2. Unnoticed by much of the public, the Bush administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have been laying the groundwork for a repeal of abortion rights.

The anti-abortion movement is making tremendous progress . . . but "they're doing it below the radar."

Laci and Conner's Law: (Whenever possible, Republicans title their legislation after high-profile victims.) Though it makes an explicit exception for abortion, within the rhetoric of a law that defines killing a fetus as murder the exception seems absurd — and that's precisely the point.

The bill to suspend the FDA's approval of RU-486, the abortion pill: An 18-year-old died in September, a week after taking the pill, making her the second American woman to die from RU-486 complications. In comparison, according to the Food and Drug Administration, as of 1998, 130 Americans died after taking Viagra.

Even more devastating has been Bush's reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule, which denies American aid to family planning agencies that even mention to pregnant women that abortion is an option. See also point 3 below.

Some laws have been struck down because they didn't provide exceptions for the health of the mother and didn't contain a precise definition of the procedure it purported to ban — a crucial point because "partial birth abortion" is not a medical term. Bush doesn't follow this logic.

There cannot be an anti-abortion majority on the US Supreme Court!

Note that Roe vs. Wade isn't over yet.

Abortion in Law, History & Religion provides an interesting international perspective.

3. Abstinence over sex education:

Bush's budget recommends $270 million for programs that try to dissuade teenagers from having sex. Much of that money would be given in grants to Christian organizations such as Youth for Christ and to anti-abortion groups operating so-called crisis pregnancy centers, outfits that masquerade as women's health clinics but deliver a strongly anti-abortion message and often medically inaccurate information. It would pay for school programs that teach kids that premarital sex leads to psychological maladies and that sex with condoms is a kind of viral Russian roulette.

There is no scientific evidence that abstinence-only programs work.

There is anecdotal evidence aplenty that they do not!

Often, though, the doctors associated with the Medical Institute seem to put their "values commitments" ahead of hard evidence. One member of the institute's advisory board is W. David Hager, the author of a book called "As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now." Hager has suggested prayer as a cure for premenstrual syndrome and, in private practice, refused to prescribe contraception to unmarried women. In 2002, Bush appointed Hager, whom Time Magazine called "scantily credentialed," to head an FDA panel on women's health policy, but after a public outcry, he was merely made a member of the panel.

That's absurd! That man should be nowhere near women's health, and no president of any brain would think to appoint him.

4. Amending the constitution:

Bush says marriage cannot be severed from its "cultural, religious and natural" roots. (Haven't they taken God out of the constitution yet?!)

I don't see how amending the constitution would not be discriminatory. I fear this opens the door to a lot more Christian-Right amending.

Grrr. It all just makes me so mad.

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