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Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality


The Bush Agenda Continues at FDA

12/26/02 AP report Dr. W. David Hager was named to the FDA Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs.

He is strongly anti-abortion and participated in a Christian Medical Association campaign trying to reverse the FDA's 1996 recommendation that led to RU-486 "morning after pill" being approved.

The National Association for Women and six other groups have objected. Planned Parenthood says, Hager and other doctors on the panel are "a frontal assault on reproductive rights that will imperil women's health."

Hager and his wife have recommended "specific scripture readings and prayers for such ailments as headaches and premenstrual syndrome."

Hager has also condemned the birth control pill, saying it has provided a convenient way for young people to be sexually active outside of marriage.

More Bush Agenda News For False Info on Sexual Health

What do you make of these recent developments?
1. Abortion and Breast Cancer: The National Cancer Institute, which used to say that the best scientific study showed “no association between abortion and breast cancer,” now says that it is not sure.

2. Use of Condom: The web page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) used to contradict President Bush’s “abstinence only” promotion and say that education about condom use does not cause earlier or increased sexual activity. This page is now omitted from the website.

3. Condom Effectiveness: The old version of the CDCP’s condom fact sheet focused on the advantages of condom use. The new version puts more emphasis on the risk that condom use may not prevent sexually transmitted disease, and on the advantages of abstinence.

While it is true that condom use may not guarantee that we don’t contract STDs, to put the emphasis on its possible failure is to subtly discourage its use. This can have disastrous ramifications. Just think about all those pregnancies and STDs which could have been avoided but were not, just because people listen to the subtle message and skip condom use because it is not 100% effective!

The New York Times says today that fourteen House Democrats, including Henry A. Waxman of California, have written to Tommy G. Thompson, secretary of health and human services, protesting that the newer versions of these public health documents “distort and suppress scientific information for ideological purposes.” It is certainly a dangerous practice and a disservice to the public to mix science with politics. (Source:

Yes, “total abstinence” has a failure rate of zero. Abstinence education sounds good on paper. The problem is that those who promise themselves total abstinence often end up practicing periodic abstinence or unprotected sex. It is not fair to compare the failure rate of condom use with that of theoretical abstinence. To make a valid comparison, we must compare actual results in practice. Dr. Clara Haignere of the Department of Health Studies at Temple University has done research on the failure rate of theoretical abstinence. Based on her empirical study, she found evidence which suggests that the abstinence user-failure rate to be around 45%. (Source: )

In March, George W. Bush asked Congress to grant him $135 million for abstinence-only education. It is interesting to note that such program was what Bush oversaw when he was governor of Texas. The results did not lend credence to what he preaches. During Bush’s term as governor, Texas ranked 49th out of 50 states in terms of teen births among 15-19 year-old females and a dead last in the decline of teen birth rates among 15-17 year olds. It should also be noted that the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy did a study in 2001 on abstinence-only programs. It found no significant impact of such education program on the teens’ initiation of or frequency of sex. Such finding led The American Medical Association, American Pediatrics Association and the National Academy of Science to oppose abstinence-only education.

Clearly, ideology-driven sex education is a bad practice. Let us do our part in stopping this government waste and the unethical pushing of the conservative agenda as “education.”

Ken, Host of Economics with Heart

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