Friday, November 17, 2006

Sex, lies, and abortion: More theocratic quackery from the Bush White House

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Jessica Valenti of Feministing reported yesterday that Bush has appointed Dr. Eric Keroack Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs (DASPA) at the Department of Health and Human Services. Which could mean one of two things: more hackocracy or more theocracy.

Well, it’s the latter.

Keroack, “currently the medical director of a Massachusetts pregnancy crisis center,” is “a well-known anti-choicer” and “a major proponent of abstinence-only education”. The “crisis center” in question is actually a chain of centers in eastern Massachusetts called
A Woman’s Concern, where Keroack, according to “moiv” at AlterNet, “spreads all the usual lies about abortion, and uses ultrasound scans as a tool to influence the decisions of women who might be considering abortion.”

And that’s not all. He’s “on the Medical Advisory Council for the notorious Leslee Unruh’s National Abstinence Clearinghouse“. “And this is the guy,” in Jessica’s words, “who is going to have control over hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding meant to provide access to contraception and reproductive health information — specifically to low income Americans.”

Yes, that’s right. The Office of Population Affairs that he is about to head includes the Office of Family Planning and the Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs. Given his career background, crazy theories, and theocratic leanings, it’s quite clear where his priorities will be: abstinence and (when that fails) absolutely no abortion. I suspect he doesn't much care for birth control either.

(Pharyngula and Majikthise have more.)

This story won’t get the attention it deserves, but it illustrates the continuing influence of the religious right on the Bush White House. (Where are you now, David Kuo? Or is this just an attempt to win the doubters back?) And it shows just how dangerous even Bush’s allegedly lame-duck presidency can be.

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UPDATE: See also the Post: "The appointment, which does not require Senate confirmation, was the latest provocative personnel move by the White House since Democrats won control of Congress in this month's midterm elections... The Keroack appointment angered many family-planning advocates, who noted that A Woman's Concern supports sexual abstinence until marriage, opposes contraception and does not distribute information promoting birth control at its six centers in eastern Massachusetts."

Read the whole article for more reaction.

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