Archive for Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bush daughter knows best

October 25, 2007

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Last week President Bush named yet another person to oversee the federally funded family planning program who doesn't seem especially keen on federally funded family planning. He might have done better to pick his daughter Jenna.

Her book, "Ana's Story," about a Central American teen-age mother who is HIV-positive, is refreshingly reality-based about sexual behavior - in a way that her father's administration resists.

President Bush pushes funding for abstinence-only sex education, with students given no information about birth control or safe sex. Jenna Bush, who met Ana while working as a UNICEF intern in Latin America, understands that abstinence isn't always the chosen path.

"If you decide abstinence is right for you, don't let anyone tell you otherwise," she writes. "But if you decide that you're ready for a sexual relationship, the best way to protect yourself from HIV and other (sexually transmitted infections) is to be faithful to your partner and use a condom every time."

Good advice - if only the federal government wanted American children of Ana's age to hear it. Instead, abstinence-only programs are riddled with misstatements that exaggerate the failure rate of condoms and minimize their ability to protect against disease.

President Bush requires abstinence-only programs to teach that "sexual activity outside the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects." Jenna Bush describes how Ana, then 16, has sex for the first time with HIV-positive Berto: "She felt no fear, only love." She relates approvingly how a nurse told Ana at age 10 that "when she was older and ready to have sex that it was very important to always use condoms."

As Jenna Bush told Newsweek, "In Africa my dad's policies are pretty much in line with mine, but not domestically." ABC - abstain, be faithful, use condoms - is the message abroad, not at home.

Contrast Jenna Bush with the president's latest flawed choice for the post of acting deputy secretary for population affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services - in other words, the official who oversees federal family planning programs and advises on reproductive health and adolescent pregnancy, including abstinence-only programs.

You may remember Bush's previous pick: Eric Keroack, who was medical director of a pregnancy-counseling (read: anti-abortion) clinic that considered birth control "demeaning to women" and believed that making contraception available, "especially among adolescents, actually increases ... out-of-wedlock pregnancy and abortion."

Keroack resigned after it was revealed that state Medicaid officials had taken action against his private medical practice in Massachusetts. Bush replaced him with Susan Orr, former senior director for marriage and family care at the conservative Family Research Council and an adjunct professor at Pat Robertson's Regent University. Orr seems to be Keroack Lite.

In 2001, when the Bush administration proposed lifting the requirement that health insurers of federal employees provide coverage for contraceptives, Orr cheered. "We're quite pleased, because fertility is not a disease," she said. "It's not a medical necessity that you have it." Tell that to girls like Ana.

The year before, Orr fought a D.C. Council bill requiring all employers to cover contraception - with no exception for those, such as the Catholic Church, that have religious objections. I agree that a "conscience clause" should have been included, but Orr's opposition was disturbingly vitriolic. "The mask of choice is falling off," she said. "It's not about choice. It's not about health care. It's about making everyone collaborators with the culture of death."

The Family Research Council argues against funding the family planning program that Orr is slated to supervise. "We don't think there is an argument for taxpayer funding of contraception," the group's vice president for government affairs, Tom McClusky, told me.

The group has echoed that message in a prayer alert about the $283 million a year program that funds family planning clinics for low-income women.

Almost 40 years ago, a member of Congress, urging the federal government to help lower-income women get access to birth control, made a point that seems lost on the Orrs of the world. "We need to take sensationalism out of this topic," he said. "If family planning is anything, it is a public health matter."

The lawmaker was George H.W. Bush - and I suspect his granddaughter would understand, even if his son chooses not to.

Ruth Marcus is a member of The Washington Post's editorial page staff.

Comments

logicisking 7 years, 9 months ago

i take birth control pills to control migraines -- what would bush say to that? does that still make me part of this "culture of death" they are referring to?

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 9 months ago

As long as liberals like Ruth Marcus convince themselves that the so-called morning after pill (abortion pill) is a form of contraception, there will be rightful indignation by taxpayers over government funding of this type of "contraception."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

Yes, STRS, it'd be much better if these women were forced to carry their pregnancies to term and have children that they can't support.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 9 months ago

Start a life, sustain the life, bozo. But you probably think that developing human inside a woman's womb is just a blob of tissue.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

"Start a life, sustain the life,"

My, it must be a wonderful, simple life you lead.

tvc 7 years, 9 months ago

STRS, Pregnancy can be prevented after intercourse by taking Emergency Contraceptive pills (EC). It works by giving the body a short, high, burst of synthetic hormones. This disrupts hormone patterns needed for pregnancy. EC affects the ovaries and the development of the uterine lining, making pregnancy less likely. Depending upon where the woman is in her menstrual cycle, the EC hormones prevent pregnancy in different ways. It prevents ovulation (the egg leaving the ovary and moving into the fallopian tube). It blocks the hormones needed for the egg to be able to be fertilized. It affects the lining of the uterus and alters sperm transport which prevents sperm from meeting the egg and fertilizing it.

These are the same hormones in birth control pills!

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

Providing coverage for birth control pills is not going to protect people like Ana from AIDS. If anything it would make it more likely.

tvc 7 years, 9 months ago

Manyblessings, Ana is already HIV positive. No one is saying bc pills protect against HIV!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

"If anything it would make it more likely."

Maybe slightly so, but in many cultures, women are forced to have unprotected sex with philandering husbands who won't use condoms. So while the pill won't protect against AIDS, at least they won't have AIDS and be pregnant.

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

I was responding to this statement in the article that gives the impression that somehow coverage of birth control is going to help girls like Ana.

In 2001, when the Bush administration proposed lifting the requirement that health insurers of federal employees provide coverage for contraceptives, Orr cheered. "We're quite pleased, because fertility is not a disease," she said. "It's not a medical necessity that you have it." Tell that to girls like Ana

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

How is abortion worse than death by bombing?

Obviously neither is good, but I don't think anyone is specifically targeting children with bombs. Mothers are choosing to kill their own children with abortion which is incomprehensible to me as a mother.

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

Maybe slightly so, but in many cultures, women are forced to have unprotected sex with philandering husbands who won't use condoms. So while the pill won't protect against AIDS, at least they won't have AIDS and be pregnant.

So we should encourage these men to freely philander around and force sex on people since they are "protected" by birth control pills?

imastinker 7 years, 9 months ago

TVC -

the specific drug in the morning after pill makes no difference. Remember there's allergy medicine in Meth.

What matters is how it works. Birth Control manipulates hormones that control ovulation and prevent it. The morning after pill is specifically designed to prevent implantation of the embroyo. One way prevents conception from occuring, the other way is actually an abortion in the minds of a lot of people.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

"So we should encourage these men to freely philander around and force sex on people since they are "protected" by birth control pills?"

They likely couldn't care less if their wives are on the pill.

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

Birth control pills can also be used as an abortifacent, which is why many people are opposed to them.

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

Mothers are choosing to kill their own children with abortion which is incomprehensible to me as a mother."

I feel the same way, but guess what: It's none of your business what anyone else does with their life.

So now its none of our business when people choose to kill their own children? Should we just leave all the Andrea Yates' of the world to do whatever they like since its "none of our business"?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 9 months ago

When 500-lbs bombs are dropped from several thousand feet on buildings whose occupants are unknown, you can't just say "oops, sorry" when there are "unintended" victims, children or not. It's murder just as much as when a suicide bomber blows himself up in a marketplace or a mosque.

tvc 7 years, 9 months ago

If you want to know more... http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/296/14/1775?ijkey=qsS31RMdFZfdU&keytype=ref&siteid=amajnls Clearly some of you just don't like the thought of women having sex...unless it is to have lots and lots of babies!

beatrice 7 years, 9 months ago

Jenna is acting all grown up now and earning respect for her political views? Yikes, I can see it already -- for President in 2032: Jenna vs. Chelsea.

Confrontation 7 years, 9 months ago

It doesn't surprise me that Dubya wants to have control over pregnancies in Africa and the U.S. Increasing the number of whites in the world has always been part of his agenda.

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

It doesn't surprise me that Dubya wants to have control over pregnancies in Africa and the U.S. Increasing the number of whites in the world has always been part of his agenda.

How ironic that you should say that. The founder of Planned Parenthood, which originally started as the American Birth Control League (Margaret Sanger) openly stated her racist opinions and agreement with eugenics. Much of planned parenthood's "birth control" propaganda is targeted towards minorities. Now who is the one trying to selectively decrease certain populations of people?

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 9 months ago

TVC, You claim that the morning after abortion pill "blocks the hormones needed for the egg to be able to be fertilized."

That only occurs some of the time. What the morning after abortion pill often does is keep an already-fertilized egg from implanting in the womb, which invariably kills that developing human life. There's a lot of misinformation on this subject.

tvc 7 years, 9 months ago

STRS, There is a lot of misinformation. I posted a link previously; please read it.

badger 7 years, 9 months ago

STRS, you're confusing two different pills.

Plan B emergency contraception, also known as the 'morning after' pill, is a megadose of birth control pills. Taken within 72 hours of sexual activity, it prevents the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. It will not cause the body to expel an implanted egg. That's why it has to be taken so quickly after sex, before the egg has implanted. It is invaluable for women who have been raped and do not wish to face pregnancy on top of that experience. It prevents a pregnancy from occurring entirely. It does not provide an abortion any more than the variety of birth control pill that prevents implantation does (there are different types of hormonal birth control; one prevents ovulation, another prevents implantation. A large dose of the latter is Plan B).

RU-486, also known as the 'abortion pill', terminates an existing pregnancy. It is not routinely given to rape victims or women concerned because of condom breakage, and is highly controversial. It is not in any way the same thing as a 'morning after' pill and is only given to women who have positive pregnancy tests.

Not the same thing, not remotely, and conflating emergency birth control with abortion is just the sort of thing that keeps the ignorance surrounding this topic alive.

Regarding the "So we should just ignore philandering husbands and make sure their wives have birth control?" argument:

Many of these women are in abusive relationships, and having children complicates the decision to leave an abusive relationship immensely. Pregnancy and childcare are used by abusers to control their victims, because a pregnant woman is often unable to support herself, and a single woman with young children has more trouble finding a job than a single woman without children. Giving women in situations like that some measure of control over conception means a better chance that they may be able to leave bad situations without being afraid their abusers will take their children away or use the children as blackmail. It's not as good as getting their husbands to respect them, or getting them the resources to leave with kids or without them, but at least it's a start.

Confrontation 7 years, 9 months ago

manyblessings: I'm pretty sure you're just rightthinker's female profile. It's kind of interesting how he disappears when you show up. I guess he wanted a uterus.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 9 months ago

Badger: "Taken within 72 hours of sexual activity, it prevents the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus."

You are correct. However, what you describe invariably kills a developing human life. Therefore, I stand by my comment that the morning after pill can 1. prevent fertilization (contraception), or 2. kill a fertilzed egg (abortion).

tvc 7 years, 9 months ago

STRS, do you feel this strongly about couples that fertilize eggs and leave them frozen?

Ceallach 7 years, 9 months ago

I love it when we get down to the "my political perverts are less disgusting than your political perverts" comments.

tvc 7 years, 9 months ago

Scenebooster, God keeps having doubts about having a second child. It doesn't help that Jesus gets all mad when God tells him about his new little brother or sister. But..Dad...I am the only son of God!

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 9 months ago

tvc,

I believe creating human life, whether in the womb or the petrie dish, for the purpose of destroying it is immoral.

Tell me, do you agree that the morning after pill may cause a developing blastocyst/embyro to not implant in the woman's uterus and that because of taking the morning after pill, the perfectly viable human embyo would die as a result?

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 9 months ago

Had I not skipped "sensitivity training" at my liberal government school, I might be upset by the comments of the anti-Christian bigots who post here. read: possessionannex and tvc.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 9 months ago

possessionannex,

Are you as intolerant of Jews and blacks as you are of Christians? (Liberal double standards crack me up.)

tvc 7 years, 9 months ago

I believe that in most if not all cases it prevents fertilization. There is evidence of this in the link I provided, but ultimately I don't care. I respect your views, but ultimately I have decided that the woman's rights trump the baby's.

tvc 7 years, 9 months ago

STRS, I am sorry for making fun of your God. I am most familiar with the Christian God, but I promise to rotate different Gods into my jokes.
Sincerely, tvc

badger 7 years, 9 months ago

STRS:

So you're saying that prevention of implantation of a fertilized egg is equivalent to abortion. Does that mean a woman who takes a non-ovulation form of regular hormonal birth control is morally superior to a woman who takes a non-implantation form of regular hormonal birth control, because the latter has an abortion as often as once every menstrual cycle if she's sexually active?

Wow.

That's just...all sorts of ignorant. It must be nice to live in a world where everything is so black and white with no shades of grey or nuance.

You know lots of things can prevent implantation, right? Are people who have IUD's also on your list of regular aborters? What about women who let a yeast infection go too long without treatment and developed PID? They should have known they were risking uterine scarring that would 'end that developing life'. Or the severely anemic, whose uterine tissue won't hold an implanted egg? If they don't take their iron supplements while they're sexually active even though they know those supplements might prevent non-implantation, are they on your 'list' too?

I think you don't know very much about female reproductive anatomy, sparky.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 9 months ago

annex,

Think about it, man! You probably wouldn't dare make jokes about blacks, Jews or homosexuals. You do, however, feel free to rip on Christians. Why?

I've learned that liberals commonly preach tolerance and inclusivity unless it means being tolerant of Christians.

beatrice 7 years, 9 months ago

strs: Being a liberal, I'd like to chime in here. I can honestly say that I don't have a problem with people having faith, including Christians. However, when people start preaching intolerance in the name of their faith, be it Muslim or Christian or whatever, that is where problems begin. I refuse to tolerate faith-based intolerance.

In other words, don't tell me how to live my life based on your faith and I won't need to tell you to shut the hell up. Pretty simple, really.

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

I think sometimes people start Christian bashing when they are confronted with the truth and don't want to admit it. They can't argue logically and coherently so they resort to name calling and insults.

beatrice 7 years, 9 months ago

"You probably wouldn't dare make jokes about blacks, Jews or homosexuals. You do, however, feel free to rip on Christians. Why?"

So lets try.

Two black, Jewish homosexual blondes walk into a building. You would think one of them would have seen it there.

Well, then how about this ...

A black Jewish homosexual woman walks into a bar and orders a beer. "We don't serve your kind here," growled the bartender. "Okay," said the woman. "Then I'll have a scotch on the rocks instead."

What can I say. At least I'm trying.

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

Real "truth" is not dependent on a person's opinion. It is either true or it is a lie.

Gary Sandell 7 years, 9 months ago

It doesn't surprise me that Dubya wants to have control over pregnancies in Africa and the U.S. Increasing the number of whites in the world has always been part of his agenda.


Where the HELL did that come from?

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

manyblessings: I'm pretty sure you're just rightthinker's female profile. It's kind of interesting how he disappears when you show up. I guess he wanted a uterus.

Nope, sorry. I am not even sure if I agree with all of his opinions. Surprise, surprise, there is more than one person who dares be conservative amongst the liberal Lawrence sheep.

tvc 7 years, 9 months ago

Well, RT they were just talking about you. Welcome.

Manyblessings are you resorting to name calling and insults. Tsk. Tsk.

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't believe in transubstantiation. Either I am right and it is false or I am wrong and it is true. What is your point?

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

Back to the original topic of abstinence vs. birth control. I think that birth control provides a false sense of security and encourages immorality.

denak 7 years, 9 months ago

It is a shame that this thread has so quickly(and predictably) become a thread on abortion.

Contraceptives, in and of themselves, do not improves women's lifes in a lot of countries. However, the use of contraceptives to delay a first birth does in fact have a profound impact on a woman's/girl's life in many countries.

The older a girl, in a third world country, is when she gives birth the first time has a direct correllation to future childbearing risks, maternal and infant mortality, the number of children born, maritial instability, the amount of education she receives, and economic status which is generally lower.

In the U.S., we view a teenage pregnacy as a detour,something to be avoided. However, for many women/girls in the world, giving birth before the age of 17 (age used to define early birth)is considered "normal." This normal does nothing but hurt the women as well as the family and by extension society. Large families have greater economic stress. Large families increase population which puts stress on governments. And one only needs to look at the dismal plight of the millions of babies orphaned in African from AIDS, to see that condoms is needed not only for to use as a contraceptive but also to use to ward against HIV/AIDs.

However, as I stated earlier, contraceptives and birth control, in and of itself, isn't going to solve all the problems. Changing the culture that does not view early births as a negative thing or sees child bearing as the sole reason for a woman's existance is crucial. As is developing ways for women/girls to achieve economic independence. Micro-loans to women in some countries (eg India) have had amazing results in bettering women's lives. As does the increase in marriage age and compulsary education.

All these things need/should be in place so that half of the world's population actually has a chance at having a life that is even worht living. Denying a girl/woman contraception is just as wrong as denying a girl/woman an education or economic freedom. All these things work together to provide more of an opportunity. And it is a shame that the President does not see that. Perhaps, he should talk to Ana.

Dena

tvc 7 years, 9 months ago

What is your point? That is your opinion, and not a fact. Just like it is my opinion that having sex and masturbating is fun.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 7 years, 9 months ago

Like... I am sooooooo beyond debating the abortion thing....

"i take birth control pills to control migraines"

... I just want to know more about the woman on birth control who doesn't get headaches.

,:-)

Tychoman 7 years, 9 months ago

manyblessings: "Back to the original topic. I think that birth control provides a false sense of security and encourages immorality."

It doesn't. Next topic.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 7 years, 9 months ago

"If right-thinker is for it, I am against it. if right- hinker is against it, I am for it."

You know, r_t, with some strategically sequenced posts, you could have BABBOY's head spinning.

tell_it_like_it_is 7 years, 9 months ago

Livin' off the old lady right_thinker? You know there is a word for guys like that.

Confrontation 7 years, 9 months ago

Manyblessings (Anonymous) says:

"Back to the original topic of abstinence vs. birth control. I think that birth control provides a false sense of security and encourages immorality."

You sound like an old church lady who never knew "good action." It's such a pity. You must have been one of the 5% who waited for marriage, and then was sorely disappointed. I picture you as that Roman Catholic mom from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life ("The Miracle Of Birth - Part II: The Third World" ).

werekoala 7 years, 9 months ago

a few questions for the squawkers:

1) should women who are raped be forced to bear their rapist's child? What about 13-year-old molestation victims?

2) if abortion is illegalized, what penalty should apply to women who seek out and recieve illegal abortions?

3) if a fertilized, unimplanted egg is the same as a baby, why does God let about 1/2 of all these eggs pass out of the uterus without being implanted? And with such a high rate of this happening, does one more really matter?

jmsw112 7 years, 9 months ago

Liberal Christians exist you bunch of sillypantses.

riverrat2 7 years, 9 months ago

I can believe the No. of dumb a$$es that copied/pasted their log-book here.

Did you know the SUN was shining today? Did you even take the time to go outside and see what was up with the real world? You 'cube dwellers kill me.

You live your lives so protected that you don't even know what is going on in the real world.

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

"I don't believe in transubstantiation. Either I am right and it is false or I am wrong and it is true. What is your point?"

You've made my point for me. You originally say ""Real "truth" is not dependent on a person's opinion", and yet here you say you don't believe in an aspect of faith that millions of people take as Biblical truth:

If it's ok for you to toss that aside (watch out now tvc), then it is perfectly acceptable for me (or anyone else) to toss aside anything you claim as "truth", in regard to religion, that is

Sure, you have to make your own decisions as to whether or not to believe what is true. That doesn't change the fact that it is truth.

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

You sound like an old church lady who never knew "good action." It's such a pity. You must have been one of the 5% who waited for marriage, and then was sorely disappointed. I picture you as that Roman Catholic mom from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life ("The Miracle Of Birth - Part II: The Third World" ).

Sorry to disappoint you, but I didn't become a Christian until I was an adult. One of the reasons I feel strongly about this subject is because I have been there. I wish someone had let me know as a teenager that I was worth waiting for marriage for and didn't have to find my worth in how many men wanted to sleep with me. I am so thankful I finally found someone who respected me enough to make the decision that we should do the right thing and wait for marriage. We have been happily married now for over a decade and have a healthy sex life, but I have many regrets from my past. As for being "old", I guess that is relative. If you are a teenager I might seem "old".

Katara 7 years, 9 months ago

Manyblessings, since you have been there, do you feel that birth control made you do the things you did that you now regret?

manyblessings 7 years, 9 months ago

I think that birth control pills contributed to a false sense of security, yes.

deec 7 years, 9 months ago

I on the other hand, have no regrets about my "sordid youth". I take responsibility for the decisions I made. Now my marriage to an uber-right wing religious fanatic, who cheated on me regularly...that I regret. Until I remember my 5 wonderful children

Tychoman 7 years, 9 months ago

Good for you, deec. To resurrect Monty Python again, "always look on the bright side of life."

And no, birth control pills don't lead to a necessarily false sense of security.

And no, 75x55, it doesn't.

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