Sex Education Gets Sacked

" explosive new report by Representative Henry Waxman, which catalogues dozens of politically driven affronts to objective scientific inquiry... The Administration "has manipulated the scientific process and distorted and suppressed scientific findings," says the report, precipitating "misleading statements by the president, inaccurate responses to Congress.. erroneous international communications and the gagging of scientists."

The editors of Science, Nature, Scientific American and the British journal Lancet have said as much in the past year, as have the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, the American Public Health Association and scores of HIV-prevention organizations... The abstinence-obsessed Administration, sustaining Health and Human Services audits.. and wholesale attacks on the notion of safe sex. In July 2001, HHS quietly ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's condom fact sheet offline--it went missing for more than a year and reappeared nearly unrecognized, no longer stating that condoms are 98 to 100 percent effective as HIV prevention or explaining their proper use. Also axed was a "Programs that Work" section, which cited several large studies finding that teaching kids the facts about sex doesn't make them do it any earlier.

"The manipulation has extended to scientific research itself: As the New York Times revealed in April, scientists are being advised to "cleanse" certain words from their federal grant applications...

"Welcome to the new CDC.. hysterical.. a case study in the new pitched battle between science and ideology. "A climate of fear and intimidation has absolutely permeated the agency"... Key prevention officers there have been laid off or reassigned, and a number of high-level officials have jumped ship... "There's been a major brain drain," says one staffer...

""..more than $100 million is being spent annually on some 700 abstinence-only programs that have no oversight and fly in the face of dozens of peer-reviewed studies that back up condoms, comprehensive sex education, needle-exhange programs, and frank, community-tailored information campaigns.." (Block, Jennifer. "Science Gets Sacked." The Nation, September 1/8 2003, 5-6).

"Bush.. is stacking the government with faith healers and fanatics.." (Pollitt, Katha.. "Selling Dean Short." The Nation, September 1/8 2003, 10).

Colby Glass, MLIS