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Ear to the Ground
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Bush Appoints Pro-Abstinence Family Planning Chief

Posted on Nov 17, 2006
Eric Keroack

Dr. Eric Keroack: Is this the most prudish man in America?

The Bush administration has selected a doctor who opposes premarital sex, contraception and abortion to direct the $283-million office that oversees programs for teen pregnancy, family planning and abstinence programs.

  • This despite the fact that 80 percent of Americans want contraception taught in sex ed classes.

  • ALSO: If you haven’t vomited yet today, check out

    AP via Washington Post:

    WASHINGTON—The Bush administration, to the consternation of its critics, has picked the medical director of an organization that opposes premarital sex, contraception and abortion to lead the office that oversees federally funded teen pregnancy, family planning and abstinence programs.

    The appointment of Eric Keroack, a Marblehead, Mass. obstetrician and gynecologist, to oversee the federal Office of Population Affairs and its $283 million annual budget has angered family-planning advocates.

    Keroack currently is medical director of A Woman’s Concern, a Christian nonprofit. The Dorchester, Mass.-based organization runs six centers in the state that offer free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds and counseling. It also works to “help women escape the temptation and violence of abortion,” according to its statement of faith. And it opposes contraception, saying its use increases out-of-wedlock pregnancy and abortion rates.


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    By jdzs, November 18, 2006 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I am offended by the editorial comment on this “Ear to the Ground” item: “If you haven’t vomited today, check out”  The writer clearly distains the abstinence movement, as I’m sure many Americans do, believing that abstinence goes against human nature.  This also is the refrain of anti-gay people who rail that homosexuals go against human nature.  In neither case is this “against human nature” rant an acceptable argument. 
          We live in a free country, and people should be able to live the way they choose.  The real basis for concern with the appointment of Dr. Eric Keroack should be aimed at not teaching sex-ed and providing condoms in schools rather than whether people abstain from sex.  Debate over those issues of sex education and condom distribution is essential to the dialogue; it is not useful to disparage how certain people choose to live their lives, and I say that even though I may not support the abstinence movement. 
    Turn the tables and imagine being told to get ready to vomit after linking to a website espousing gay rights, women’s rights, or civil rights.  I understand this abstinence site might be a fanatical site, but let me make up my own mind; don’t tell me what to think.  I will judge what is good for me.  I will read everything and then make up my mind, thank you.  I respect divergent opinions, but I can do without the gratuitous tag line that is not backed up with facts.  That’s the operating method of the gang that has been in power in this country: Here’s what to think, facts not necessary.
          I love Truthdig, one reason being its high standards; it lets me dig for truth and leads me make up my own mind.  To slam a whole group of people who desire to live a certain way is wrong, and I expect more from this site that I have come to respect and appreciate for bringing another voice to the discussion and not being a shill for either side of a debate.

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    By Rena, November 17, 2006 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Wow, that site is full of itself. You have to buy the brochures. You can’t even download a .pdf w/o paying .30 cents, despite it being a non-profit. But you can buy a $300 gold cross abstinence ring. Neato!

    Report this

    By Bluestocking, November 17, 2006 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Isn’t putting someone who’s opposed to contraception in charge of family planning a bit like putting a vegan PETA activist in charge of the National Dairy Council? I can perhaps understand being opposed to abortion and wanting to prevent teen pregnancy…but being against contraception as well, even for married couples?  The quote by Keroak doesn’t give any indication that he has no objection to married women using contraception but is against it for teenage girls and single women—appearances suggest that he’s opposed to it across the board. At least in my mind (and I don’t think I’m the only one), that’s usually what “family planning” means—pregnancy prevention for married couples—unless it’s one of those antiquated euphemisms like people sometimes used in the 1950’s (such as “in the family way” for pregnant) because frank references to sexual and/or childbirth matters was considered crude. If Keroack is opposed to contraception even for married couples, does he really think that he can convince the majority of American men that sex is a bad thing and that they should only do it if they’re prepared to accept another child into the family?  Gee, Keroak, good luck with that…‘cause you’re gonna need it, and lots of it!!!

    Then again, should anyone really surprised? Hello-oo…this is the same administration which temporarily appointed a male VETERINARIAN as director of the Office of Women’s Health at the Food and Drug Administration. Yep, that’s right—they appointed an ANIMAL DOCTOR to oversee women’s health as if there were no difference between human women and female farm animals (the vet’s specialty was animal husbandry, i.e., raising livestock) then denied that it had ever happened and tried to cover it up despite the fact that e-mails and letters announcing the appointment had already gone out. Here’s the link to the article:

    This is absolutely unacceptable and utterly contemptible—there can be no doubt whatsoever that this is a blatant attempt by the Bush administration to insert a religious influence into government, and an extremely conservative one at that. What right does someone like Bush or Keroak have to decide what is right for all of the women of the United States when not all of us share their particular beliefs, even those who are Christian?

    Report this

    By CHARLIE KASNICK, November 17, 2006 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)


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    By John C. Bonser, November 17, 2006 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Reality and truth have again been sacrificed to the idol commonly called “the base.” Again ignorance triumphs within This Administration.

    Report this

    By shoot_me_now_in_the_face, November 17, 2006 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    That’s ok, I’m not going to let someone else’s God get in mine, or my family’s business, thank you very much. I’m still trying to get my head around how teaching people that a natural part of all mammals’ lives are bad for them. Apparently religion is good for turning all sorts of scientific studies into meaningless drivel.

    Report this

    By LucysGranddaughter, November 17, 2006 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    In addition to 80% of Americans wanting contraception education, STUDY AFTER STUDY shows that abstinence-only education doesn’t delay teenage sexual activity. At all. But it does increase teens’ risk of getting an STD…I think what people don’t realize is that contraception education includes talking about the benefits of abstinence as well as safe sex.. see the Alan Guttmacher Institute’s website for all the stats.

    Report this
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