Bush's Family-Planning Choice Thwarts the Electorate


What part of "yes" do you not understand?

Buried in the election news coverage last week was a poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania showing that Americans want–yes, want–condom-inclusive, not abstinence-only, sex education for children in public schools.

Clearly this message was lost on the White House, which has failed to pick up on that cast-iron club of a hint from the electorate last week. American voters signaled they want a shift away from extremism and back toward the mainstream. The Annenberg survey is proof of this on the sex education front, as it reveals that abstinence-only programs "are not supported by a large majority of the American public, regardless of their political or religious ideologies. … Eighty percent of those surveyed favored a sex education curriculum that includes information about contraception as well as an abstinence message."

Yet just yesterday, the Bush administration's Department of Health and Human Services announced the selection of an extreme right-wing "Christian pregnancy-counseling organization" chief to lead the department's family-planning and population programs. The Washington Post reports that OB-GYN Eric Keroack "regards the distribution of contraceptives as 'demeaning to women.' "

The Boston Globe reports that Keroack supervised a so-called crisis pregnancy center that was purposely located less than 50 feet from a Planned Parenthood center in Worcester, Mass., with signage designed to confuse women into thinking they were entering a pro-choice facility. One woman filed a complaint that read in part, "They led me on for a week that they would perform an abortion. … When I was pulled into a room with two women they told me I was killing my baby and that I would regret this for the rest of my life. I don't think they should be able to trick people like that."

The Post quotes White House spokeswoman Dana Perino as saying that "the president has said we will look to reach common ground where we can find it. However, he's not going to compromise on his principles."

Apparently not, and in a big way. Keroack's appointment does not require Senate confirmation. But women's rights advocates intend to use a drone of voter opposition to try to undo this appointment.