Birth control blues
You’d think President Bush might have noticed, say, the morning of Nov. 8, that most Americans haven’t followed him into all the nooks of far-right U.S. conservatism. But you’d be wrong.
This month the president named, to head the federal office overseeing family planning programs, the former medical director of a nonprofit group that believes birth control is wrong.
No, that isn’t a joke. A Woman’s Concern, a Massachusetts chain of anti-abortion, pregnancy counseling centers, states in online materials that the “distribution of birth control is demeaning to women … (and) adverse to human health and happiness.” AWC also believes birth control increases out-of-wedlock pregnancy and abortion.
The self-proclaimed Christian group is welcome to its views, of course. The Roman Catholic Church doesn’t believe in birth control, either. But the pope isn’t in charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ family planning agency, the Office of Population Affairs. Dr. Eric Keroack is. He started work Nov. 21. He’ll oversee HHS’s $283 million reproductive health program and a $30 million program that encourages abstinence among teenagers.
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An HHS spokeswoman did say last week that Dr. Keroack had, in his private practice, prescribed birth control for patients. But she also conceded Dr. Keroack currently isn’t even certified as an obstetrician-gynecologist. His 1995 certification from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology expired in 2005.
The appointment is, in a word, nuts. Birth control is legal, safe and helps prevent unwanted pregnancy. That’s why the federal government has an office promoting it.
Whatever was President Bush thinking? Maybe he is so oblivious to factual details that he didn’t realize Dr. Keroack’s views. Or maybe he, too, believes birth control demeans women and increases abortion and wants the U.S. government to promote that view.
Or — most likely — naming Dr. Keroack was a Karl Rove-inspired, come-hither-again signal to far-right evangelical Christians. Their long romance with Mr. Bush seems to have hit a rocky spell Nov. 7. Is Dr. Keroack’s appointment meant to seduce them again?
Who knows? Not one of those is a sound reason for this appointment. President Bush should be ashamed. And the American people — most of whom do, in fact, think birth control is a welcome medical advancement — should be outraged.
on Tuesday, November 28th, 2006 at 2:03 pm and is filed under Alesse Top News.
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