Slate calls Bush’s new family planning chief, Dr. Eric Keroack, a “crazy” choice for the job. And reading Slate’s profile, it’s clear that Bush’s selection is akin to making Jack Abramoff head of an ethics reform panel.
On Monday, the federal office that oversees the nation’s family-planning program got a new boss who doesn’t believe in birth control. Eric Keroack is a Massachusetts obstetrician-gynecologist who argues that abstinence until marriage is the only healthy choice for women. Until recently, he served as medical director of a pregnancy-counseling organization that runs down contraception and gives out scientifically false health information—for instance, that condoms “offer virtually no protection” against herpes or HPV. Keroack also promotes a wacky piece of pseudoscience: the claim that premarital sex disrupts brain chemistry so as to create a physiological barrier to happy marriage.
Keroack’s appointment, as deputy assistant secretary of population affairs within the Department of Health and Human Services, did not require congressional approval. The Bush administration picked him on its own. And women’s health advocates, editorial pages, and bloggers, along with Democratic members of Congress, are right to think he’s a crazy choice for this job.