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Thread: Bush stacks Center for Disease Control with religious abstinence-only nuts

  1. #1
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Angry Bush stacks Center for Disease Control with religious abstinence-only nuts

    By Dawn Fallik
    The Philadelphia Inquirer
    Researchers organizing a federal panel on sexually transmitted diseases say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed a congressman to include two abstinence-only proponents, bypassing the scientific approval process.

    Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., who chairs the House subcommittee on drug policy, questioned the balance of the original panel, which focused on the failure of abstinence-until-marriage programs. In e-mail to Health and Human Services officials, his office asked whether the CDC was "clear about the controversial nature of this session and its obvious anti-abstinence objective."

    Last week the title of the panel was changed and two members were replaced. One of them was a Penn State student who was going to talk about how abstinence programs were tied to rising STD rates.

    The panel is to be held Tuesday at the National STD Prevention Conference in Jacksonville, Fla.

    "It was clear that there was not a scintilla of something positive about the abstinence education method," said Michelle Gress, counsel for Souder on the subcommittee.

    The congressman's office had asked for more balance, she said, but did not recommend specific speakers.

    Scientists have complained about increasing government interference. Last year, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration officials told coordinators of a conference on suicide prevention to remove the words gay, lesbian and bisexual from its program and add a session on faith-based suicide prevention.

    This was the first time, conference organizers said, that a single politician had so clearly interfered and achieved such dramatic results. The concern, they said, was that studies on sexual behavior would not be made public if they jarred with the administration's views on abstinence and other public-health issues.

    "At the CDC, they're beside themselves," said Jonathan Zenilman, president of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association and conference organizer. "These people aren't scientists; they haven't written anything. The only reason they're here is because of political pressure from the administration."

    Neither of the new speakers -- Patricia Sulak, an ob/gyn and director of the Worth the Wait program, and Eric Walsh, a California physician -- went through the peer-review process required of other participants, although CDC officials did not explain why. Both panelists were funded by the HHS, although others said they were told they had to pay their own way.

    John Douglas, director of the CDC's STD program, declined repeated requests for an interview.

    A CDC spokeswoman said she did not know the details but summed up the situation:

    "It's real simple," Karen Hunter said. "It was unbalanced before. And now it's not."

    Sex education has been a hot-button topic between public-health officials and politicians for years. The president's 2007 budget request increases abstinence-program funding to $204 million, up $22 million from 2006, according to Bruce Trigg, who heads an STD program in New Mexico and is one of the panel members.

    In most of these programs, Trigg said, it is mandated that when condoms are discussed, it is only to point out failure rates and how they are not 100 percent effective.

    Condom use does prevent pregnancy and STDs, health officials say, and if people aren't encouraged to use them, they will be at risk for both.

    Abstinence-only proponents say it is hard to measure their programs because often other sex education is involved. But Zenilman said the conference panel focused on the problems with abstinence programs because there are no credible data -- and no credible applicants offering otherwise.

    "We've spent $1.2 billion over a 25-year period on abstinence-only programs. Shouldn't we have one study that shows that they work?" asked William Smith, director for public policy for the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. He is no longer on the panel.

    Two weeks ago, Souder heard about the original panel, titled "Are Abstinence-Only Until Marriage Programs a Threat to Public Health?" It included John Santelli, a professor from Columbia University, Smith, Trigg, and Maryjo Oster, a Penn State graduate student.

    In e-mail that Souder sent HHS officials, said Gress, his counsel, he asked whether the CDC had to notify HHS about the meetings and topics and whether it had done so for the STD conference.

    Someone from HHS contacted the CDC and the panel was changed. Two spokesmen said they could provide no details.

    Oster was called last week and told she would not be on the panel, where she was going to talk about how abstinence programs were tied to rising STD rates.

    "It absolutely scares me," she said, "that there's this pressure to eliminate viable research from a professional conference."

    Later, a representative from the office of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.) criticized her work in an e-mail message.

    Coburn spokesman John Hart questioned why the CDC would present data that contradict the administration's policy.

    "I'm not suggesting that their views shouldn't be debated," he said, "but should federally funded tax dollars be used to do that?"

    The new panel is titled "Public Health Strategies of Abstinence Programs for Youth."
    Why? BECAUSE IT WILL PREVENT DISEASES FROM SPREADING AND PEOPLE DYING.

    The CDC isn't a political wedge, it's the fucking first line defense against new diseases, pandemics, or biological disasters!

    Jesus H fucking CHrist on a crutch!
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush stacks Center for Disease Control with religious abstinence-only nuts

    Good God are they now going to paint the CDC with the dreaded 'liberal' brush they use on anything they are opposed to? It is the CDC morons they know what they are doing!!..*hangs head in shame for his country under the Bush-tard presidency*
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush stacks Center for Disease Control with religious abstinence-only nuts

    Next thing you know, they'll hire Brownie to do a heckuva job there.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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