a bird and a bottle


The New Reproductive Health Czar? An Abstinence Only Nut.
November 16, 2006, 1:44 pm
Filed under: feminism/s & gender, news

Jessica at Feministing reports that President Bush is about to name an abstinence-only nut to oversee Title X – the federal government’s only program allocating funding for reproductive health and family planning. There are several things about this guy – Dr. Eric Keroack – that are not only concerning but downright outrageous:

1) His current job is as a doctor at a Massachussetts Crisis Pregnancy Center. You know, the folks who use deceptive methods to discourage women from having abortions or to delay women’s abortions until it is too late for them to receive them. Crisis pregnancy centers already receive an obscene amount of federal money through the abstinence only funding streams. See more about the crisis pregnancy centers’ tactics here, or rent the movie Citizen Ruth.

2) He touts the idea that pre-marital sex can cause men and women to be unable to form emotional attachments and may prevent emotional bonding in later relationships. There is NO science to back this up.

3) He presented the misinformation discussed in (2) above at an Abstinence Clearinghouse Conference. The same organization whose founder, Leslie Unruh, lead the push for the now-defunct abortion ban in South Dakota, and who was the ban’s most vociferous supporter throughout the referendum process.

I could go on. But reading the hits that come up when you google his name made me feel sick to my stomach. I had to stop. Or lose my lunch.

I think what’s scariest about this is that for many American women, Title X clinics are the only places where they can receive reproductive healthcare, including pregnancy testing, STD testing, birth control, and abortion services. Installing Keroack as the overseer of all this funding ensures that a larger number of American women will have to struggle even more than they already do to secure reprdouctive healthcare, or will just go without.

Update: mcjoan over at dailykos has more about how this is yet another betrayal of Bush’s promise to work in a bipartisan fashion. Instead, he’s doing as much as possible in the waning days of this lame duck Congress to ensure that his policies continue. Gross.

Update again: A new study reports that the vast majority of Americans favor comprehensive sex education over abstinence-only programs. So now Bush is not only going against science, he’s also endorsing policy that flies in the face of public sentiment. Um, President Bush, I believe that all that “political capital” you “won” in the 2004 election has been spent. And that piggy bank has been empty for some time now.

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[…] I wrote last week that President Bush has appointed Dr. Eric Keroack, an abstinence-only misogynist nut as the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services in charge of Title X, the federal government’s only funding stream for family planning and reproductive health for low-income women. Today, women’s rights organizations are taking action to oppose Dr. Keroack’s appointment. […]

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[…] Wednesday February 07th 2007, 11:14 am Filed under: news, politics, reproductive justice Just as we all suspected would be the case, HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Keroack is not doing anything to support women’s health or access […]

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[…] The Times’ Thursday Styles today wades into the debate over Pulitzer Prize winner Laura Sesssions Stepp’s book Unhooked. The book, which has already received a drubbing around the feminist blogosphere, argues that when college women “hook up” with men instead of dating traditionally, the women are harming their own ability to form lasting bonds later. For someone who calls herself a feminist, as the author does, her arguments sound suspiciously like Eric Keroack’s. […]

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