Sunday, September 30, 2007

Back From Bizarro World

Two recent policy reversals on the issue of abortion give me hope that the pendulum is starting to swing back— from Bush/fundamentalist extremism to a more rational approach for making decisions about other people’s bodies.
First, the Catholic church agreed to let Catholic hospitals give emergency contraception to rape victims. Such compassion! Before, the church’s position was that rape victims should be tested (while in the hospital being subjected to a rape examine) to see if they were ovulating. If they were, then they would not be given Plan B because that would prevent a pregnancy. Rape victims who were not ovulating could be given the contraception because they were not likely to get pregnant. Only in the bizarro world of the Catholic church did that ever make any sense. Oh, and by the way, the bishops’ reversal came two days before state law would have required compliance anyway. You thought they had developed some heart? Hah!
And in other strange news, Verizon had turned down a request from NARAL for a code that would allow the organization to send pro-choice information to people who had requested the text message. Whatever the company was thinking, apparently Verizon quickly came to realize that most of its customers are young, liberal, and not used to being told no. So Verizon changed its position. I guess we’re still a free country after all.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another Billion Wasted!

Bush has recently requested $242 million for abstinence-only sex education in his proposed 2008 budget. If Congress approves this budget, the total amount of tax dollars spent on abstinence-only programs during the Bush administration will exceed $1.45 billion. Why are we spending a billion and a half dollars on programs that don't work?

Why should government spend any money at all telling people not to have sex? Whether you're 15 or 75, the choice to have sex, or not, is personal.

That's not the worst of it. Abstinence-only programs don't limit themselves to telling teenagers to just say no. They also misinform people in an attempt to manipulate their behavior. A government investigation recently found that millions of teens in abstinence-only programs were taught:
1. That abortion can lead to sterility and suicide
2. That condoms fail to prevent pregnancy 31% of the time (real failure rate: 1-3%)
3. That touching a person's genitals "can result in pregnancy"
4. That a 43-day old fetus is a "thinking person"

Lying to teenagers is always a bad idea. How can they learn to trust adults, or the government, if we don't tell them the truth?

Write your congressional representative. Tell him or her to stop supporting this irresponsible waste of money.