Pro-Lifer to Oversee Nation's Family-Planning Program

In a bold screw-you move, made either in ignorance of or despite of the recent elections that saw a spate of extremist legislators tossed out of Washington, D.C., on their self-righteous cans, President George W. Bush announced on Nov. 16 that he had chosen pro-lifer Dr. Eric Keroack as his new appointee to oversee the nation’s family-planning program at the Department of Health and Human Services – from where nearly $300 million in federal funds is distributed annually among the states to fund, in large part, the providing of reproductive health care – notably, including access to contraceptives – to poor and uninsured women. While one might think that appointing someone expert at providing these critical health services would be a good choice to head up that office, Bush has tossed logic to the wind and has instead tapped Keroack for the job – an ob/gyn best known for his staunch support of abstinence-only education and as the medical director for the outfit A Woman’s Concern, which operates a string of crisis pregnancy centers in Boston – a group that, amazingly, openly espouses the notion that widespread use and distribution of birth control is actually “demeaning to women.”

Additionally, Keroack advocates performing ultrasound tests on pregnant women who happen in to a CPC (pseudo-clinics that offer no real medical services and rarely employ medical professionals) for counseling, as a means of helping the woman “connect” with her fetus – a thinly veiled guilt-and-scare strategy increasingly embraced by pro-life groups keen on steering women away from abortion. Indeed, in a profile of the good doc posted on the Web site for Project Reach (a group “promoting the culture of life in New York City”) Keroack – who reportedly prefers to describe himself as “pro-woman” instead of “pro-life” – says it is “wrong” that abortion is performed without first providing an ultrasound because, “at the very least,” he says, the ultrasound could “find the relatively high numbers of women who seek abortion and are not pregnant” – a bizarre suggestion entirely refuted by statistics that are, apparently, of no concern to Keroack. For sure, Keroack has said, “Even Midas lets you look at your old muffler before they advise you to change it. Our bodies deserve at least as much respect as our cars.”

But wait, there’s more: At the 10th annual Abstinence Leadership Conference this summer, Keroack delivered a presentation (titled, in part – I kid you not – “If I Only Had a Brain”) wherein he links the release of the hormone oxytocin during premarital sex to a higher risk of divorce. (I know, it’s hard to wrap around this one, but let’s give it a shot.) According to Keroack, here’s how it works: “Emotional pain causes our bodies to produce an elevated level of endorphins, which in turn lowers the level of oxytocin. Therefore, relationship failure leads to pain which leads to elevated endorphins which leads to lower oxytocin, the result of which is a lower ability to bond,” says Keroack. “Many in this increased state of emotional pain and lower oxytocin seek sex as a substitute for love which inevitably leads to another failed relationship, and so, the cycle continues.” Exactly how it comes to pass that this “cycle” is broken by waiting until after marriage to have sex isn’t entirely clear (and, to be honest, I’m not sure I care to know).

Exactly how Keroack will perform in his new role as family-planning program adviser – given that he doesn’t support birth control or, apparently, medically reasonable, if not accurate, information – is the real mystery. Still, one thing is painfully clear: Bush’s pledge in the wake of the Nov. 7 election that he would engage in bipartisan governing was nothing more than mere lip service – or, more accurately, nothing but a blow job. And, given Bush’s apparent attitude toward reproductive rights, he probably wasn’t even wearing a dental dam.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Reproductive Rights, family planning, birth control, Eric Keroack

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