Tuesday, March 24, 2009

new prez + change = science/politics*

Last night, I was delighted to read that a federal judge ruled that the Bush administration was wrong and determined that Plan B (emergency contraception) should be available without a prescription to girls as young as 17. Ok, so the previous age was 18, but still! This is a big step in the right direction. Now, if we can just get Plan B to be truly available over the counter, as opposed to behind the counter and under the judgmental eyes of a pharmacy tech, everything would be awesome!

If you recall, Plan B was held up for OTC approval in the FDA by many Bush cronies who did not want this pill to be available to teens because of the potential for the creation of teen sex cults!!! No, seriously. That was one of the reasons. Their line of reasoning was that, with increased availability to Plan B, teens would not be able to control their raging hormones any longer and engage in wanton (unprotected) group sex and then pop Plan B pills like candy afterwards. This wasn't based on actual facts (naturally, this was the Bush Administration after all) or anything. In fact, studies showed that teens didn't engage necessarily in careless sex if Plan B was available to them. In fact, their sexual habits showed no change.

But we all know that the Bush administration was averse to science and research and facts (global warming is another great example).

After 8 years of anti-science crap, we now have a president who does not place politics over science. Last month, the new administration worked to remove one of Bush's last acts known as the Provider Refusal Rule. Essentially, the Provider Refusal Rule or "Conscience Clause" (was written to be incredibly ambiguous and open to interpretation on purpose) allowed for religious ideology in the clinical setting. Under the rule, workers in health-care settings -- from doctors to janitors -- can refuse to provide services, information or advice to patients on subjects such as contraception, family planning, blood transfusions and even vaccine counseling if they are morally against it.

For example, if a clinician felt uncomfortable providing birth control or a Plan B prescription or the HPV vaccine, it was within his/her right to refuse to provide it to their patients. The thing is that judgment has NO place in health care, especially religious judgment. If you have a problem dispensing birth control (but not Viagra), then don't be a pharmacist. Don't want to perform an abortion if the mother's life is in danger? Well, then maybe you shouldn't be an OBGYN.

It's the same thing outside of health care. Do you hate Latinos and think gays should burn in hell? Then you wouldn't want my job. So why was the health care field specifically targeted in the Conscience Clause? Because of abortion, of course!

As a public health geek, it is so refreshing to have a president who thinks sound science should be the basis for policy as opposed to religious ideology. The NY Times piece above quoted Dr. Susan Wood, former director of the Office of Women's Health at the FDA who resigned because she didn't want to be part of Bush's morality militia. She commented, "There is a new chance to restore the scientific integrity of the F.D.A.”

Oh God I hope so.

*the title should be read as: new president plus change equals science over politics.


Anonymous said...

First, thank you for your snarkiness which made me literally snort water up my nose.

Second, I agree with 100%. If you think you might have a moral problem with part of your job description, perhaps you should switch careers.

Third, on the way home from Bumfuck, VA the other day, we randomly found this crazy conservative Christian station that was talking about how, if the Obama administration allowed things like Plan B, would the listeners resort to civil disobedience. It was shocking and hilarious at the same time. I get that they don't agree with abortions and Plan B (which isn't a frickin' abortion like they seem to think it is), and they have every right to those opinions. What I don't get is why they think they have a right to make choices for me. If you don't agree with abortions - don't get one. If you don't agree with Plan B - don't use. It's just that simple.

anOCgirl said...

instatick: bumfuck, va? i'm not familiar with that town. but you make it sound like it's a place i don't want to visit. :)

opposition to abortion is all about control. it's kinda like how a rapist isn't motivated by sex but rather the ability to control a woman and force her to do what he wants.