Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind, sells out science for the religious right.


In another example of the GOP prostituting itself to the religious right, Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind replaced two members of a federal panel on sexually transmitted diseases and replaced them with two abstinence only proponents.

Despite mounting evidence that abstinence programs are tied to rising STD rates Souder, who is chairman of the House subcommittee on drug policy, insisted on pushing scientific evidence aside to pander to the religious right.

The tax payers will even pick up the tab for the abstinence only speakers, while the others pay their own way.

There's one thing you could say in favor of abstinence, if George and Barbara Bush had practiced it, the country wouldn't be in the mess that it's in now.

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.

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.

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I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)