Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dark Ages Policies

Oh, look. The appointee to the Health and Human Services post that oversees the programs responsible for reproductive heath, and the Office of Population Affairs, which funds birth control, pregnancy testing, counseling, and std screenings, wants us all to go back to the Dark Ages, where sex is for procreation only, pregnancy is punishment for unmarried women, and contraception is unavailable, if not illegal.


Just what we need. Her primary qualifications for the position are...well, she's a Bush supporter. And she's staunchly, blindly, anti-contraception and "pro-life". Orr served as senior director for marriage and family care at the conservative Family Research Council and was an adjunct professor at Pat Robertson’s Regent University. Her qualifications, such as they are, seem to be only that she shares the same religious view as the president does, and doesn't understand that her religious views are not, and should not be, policy.

Stating that "we're quite pleased, because fertility is not a disease", Orr supported a Bush proposal to eliminate coverage for birth control in insurance plans for federal employees.

Using that logic, pregnancy is apparently classified as a disease, since it's covered under the plans. Who knew? What about broken legs and lasik surgery?

Orr supports the Mexico City Policy, which cuts off funds to NGOs who provide information about or perform abortions in other nations. She gives it a nod because it proves that Bush is pro-life "in his heart".

She believes that the use of contraceptives is abortion, apparently. She has strongly criticized requirements that health plans cover contraception, because "it's about making everyone collaborators with the culture of death."

Really? Using a condom is "collaborating with the culture of death"? Huh.

Do we really need a religious extremist dealing with the very real, and very realistic problem of pregnancy and contraception and abortion in this country? Abstinence education enacted by the Bush Adminsitration has been a failure in nearly every sense, yet she strongly supports it as the only option. No abortions, no contraception...apparently her perfect world doesn't actually have people who a) every have sex without trying to get pregnant, b) don't want to be pregnant or c)have unintended pregnancies. Ever. Or, if they did, they are nasty people who deserve whatever happens to them. That idea - that women need to be punished for sex -- seems to be an undercurrent in a lot of the "pro-life"/anti-abortion rhetoric. What a twisted way to look at things.

It's not that I dont' support abstinence as an option. I do. But it's just ONE of the options out there. Abstinence is the best option to avoid pregnancy. Abstinence until you are in a committed relationship is something I wish more people would practice. But, we live inthe real world, where these rose-colored ideas just don't cut it. Abstinence-only education does not prevent kids from having sex. It just means that they are woefully uneducated about the risks out there. And what about adults who don't want to have children (either right now, or ever?) Orr's worldview doesn't account for those people, does it? I should note of course, that she isn't pushing to eliminate contraception, at least not explicitly. She just doesn't want to insurance to cover it or the HHS departments to encourage people to use it. Although that 'culture of death' comment is pretty damn telling, if you ask me.

Can anyone actually argue that the advent of effective birth control and family planning are bad things? I mean, seriously? Orr apparently would rather spout religious dogma and keep her head in the sand, avoiding all facts. Yeah, that's going to help.

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