Republican representative forces scientific panel on the failure of abstinence programs to include pro-abstinence speakers and bumps a panelist who was to present on how abstinence campaigns cause STDs to increase:
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.
Oster was called last week and told she would not be on the panel, where she was going to talk about how abstinence programs were tied to rising STD rates.
"It absolutely scares me," she said, "that there's this pressure to eliminate viable research from a professional conference."
Later, a representative from the office of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.) criticized her work in an e-mail message.
Coburn spokesman John Hart questioned why the CDC would present data that contradict the administration's policy.
Let's just savor that last sentence, shall we?
Via AmericaBlog.Posted by binky at May 7, 2006 08:26 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Crunchy Nutbars | El Infierno de kansas | Extremism | Health | Liberty | Politics | Religion | Reproductive Autonomy | Science