News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Bush appointment bad politics, bad leadership

A recent appointment by President Bush may buy points with the Republican Party's fringe religious right, but it was an irresponsible decision.

Mr. Bush appointed a Massachusetts gynecologist and obstetrician to serve as deputy secretary for population affairs, the chief of family planning issues for the Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Eric Keroack will supervise $283 million in Title X funding that makes available information on and access to contraception, especially for those with low incomes.

The problem? Dr. Keroack opposes all forms of contraception.

Dr. Keroack is medical director of a Christian organization that claims in its statement of faith "that the crass commercialization and distribution of birth control is demeaning to women, degrading of human sexuality and adverse to human health and happiness." Dr. Keroack recently gave a speech in which he opined that female promiscuity uses up a bonding hormone, thus preventing such women from bonding in monogamous relationships later in life.

In short, Dr. Keroack is a nut. His bizarre positions would be more amusing but for the impact he may have upon important birth control and disease-prevention issues. Vilifying the condom not only leads to the birth of children to parents who can't or won't support them, it increases the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

President Bush will lose more political points than he will gain from the appointment. More important, he has undermined U.S. efforts at responsible parenting and disease control.

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