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New Head of Federal Family Planning Program Opposes Family Planning

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As well all know, Bush has made some spectacularly bad personnel decisions, but even by the degraded standards of this administration, the appointment of Eric Keroack to oversee Title X is striking. Title X is the government program that provides contraceptives and other sexual health services to poor or uninsured women. (It was signed into law by Richard Nixon, who declared, "no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.") Keroack is an anti-abortion activist who works with groups that that are also opposed to contraception. He's a member of the medical advisory council of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, a group run by Sioux Falls anti-abortion activist Leslee Unruh, who was the force behind South Dakota's recent attempted abortion ban. And he's the medical director of A Woman's Concern, a network of anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers that oppose contraception. CPCs usually pose as women's health clinics -- sometimes the volunteers even wear white lab coats -- but they exist solely to dissuade women from aborting. A Woman's Concern's website falsely claims that abortion increases the risk for breast cancer by 50% and that "50% of post-abortive women report experiencing emotional and psychological disturbances lasting for months or years."

Keroack's outfit deceives women about other issues as well. It uses a combination of dubious statistics and scripture to attack the efficacy of condoms and the very idea of safe sex. "God requires those who know Him to remain pure until marriage - no sex, in fact, not even a hint of sexual immorality," it says. "Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman to reflect Christ and His bride, the church."

The site implies that having sex with a condom offers at best a 50/50 chance of contracting an STD. "If you were on a plane and the pilot got on the intercom and told you that there was a 15% chance the plane would not make its destination and have a fatal crash, would you get off that plane?" the website asks. "What if the pilot said there was a 50% chance that the plane might crash, but you would live, you may just have some permanent injuries and damage. Would you get off then? Would it be worth the risk?"

Bush has appointed a number of pro-life activists to important positions in the federal bureaucracy. Keroack is unique, though, because the job he's been given is all about the distribution of contraceptives, something he appears to oppose in principal. Again, from A Woman's Concern: "A Woman's Concern is persuaded that the crass commercialization and distribution of birth control is demeaning to women, degrading of human sexuality and adverse to human health and happiness."

Keroack's appointment doesn't require Congressional approval. The only thing that can stop it is public outrage.