“If you think about it in human terms…”

July 17, 2009

Kansas Republican Representative Todd Tiahrt is pleased as punch that President Obama wasn’t aborted and feels that fact is all credit to the U.S. government refusing to spot Ms. Dunham the cash to go and take care of her “special problem.”

Another excellent example of  the “save the fetus, abandon the child” mindset. Nevertheless, this incident is acutely offensive for several reasons: the typical Republican straight-to-video reasoning, its overt racism, and its arrival at the tail end of a weeklong bashfest of Affirmative Action.

What Tiahrt seeks is affirmative action for non-White fetuses while at the same time his colleagues continue to gnash and wail at the type of government intervention which might actually work to reverse the disproportionately high levels of poverty among non-White, non-fetuses.

This is the same group of socio-political concern trolls that fought expanding the income eligibility for S-CHIP, poured truckloads of U.S. tax revenues into ineffective abstinence sex education programs, and are currently ready to go “D-Day” all over healthcare reform. But, golly jeepers, why oh why are so many broke folks looking to get those nasty abortions?

Representative Tiahrt, the reason non-White fetuses are disproportionately aborted in this country is because non-Whites are disproportionately poorer and unable to afford contraceptives (or education on the use thereof), much less more unwanted children. In other words, you clueless theocratic clown, the issue is Poverty, not Abortion. It’s cause and effect, but then you Republicans do struggle with sciencey stuff.

If there’s at least one thing that Hilary Clinton ever said that was actually true, it was her simple proposal that abortion demand is indirectly proportionate to the amount of time our government spends preventing the procedure’s necessity in the first place. That means providing women and men with proper sex education and providing access to free contraception toward preventing unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. In other words, treating them like the adults that they are.

But the notion of taking the millions BILLIONS of dollars wastefully poured into abstinence-only programs (which are completely ineffective), and diverting that money into commonsensical pregnancy prevention programs is stridently resisted by Republicans (as well as Blue Dog Democrats) for two reasons: religious dogma and lobbyist donations. Now the latter is morally reprehensible, but at least it’s rational. On the other hand, the former explains why legislators continue to support funneling tons of cash into such a black hole of ineptitude – BLIND, UNSCIENTIFIC FAITH. It will work, because in God’s world, it should work – so there! Ain’t that right Ed?

ED AINSWORTH (Whiteheart Communications) (Talking to Students): How many of you have watched the television show FRIENDS? Raise your hand.

SEVERSON (PBS Investigative Reporter): Ed Ainsworth is another abstinence-only advocate who lecturers nationwide. These are sixth graders at the Ropesville School near Lubbock, Texas.

First, he ridicules the “sex -is okay” culture that surrounds today’s teenagers, including prime-time TV programs like the sitcom, FRIENDS.

Mr. AINSWORTH (Talking to Students): Is that TV show about sex? It is about all of them having as much sex as they can with whoever they want to, right?

SEVERSON: He says the first time he had sex was the day he married Connie.

Ed, totally not thinking about fucking

Ed, stunned by the news that most people find him ridiculous.

Mr. AINSWORTH (Talking to Students): If you have sex outside marriage, it will cost you. It may cost you physically with a pregnancy or a disease. It may cost you mentally and emotionally with your reputation. How you feel about yourself. It may cost you spiritually, and I know with my boundaries I can’t talk to you about the spiritual consequences because we are in school. But believe me, young people, there are tons of spiritual consequences.

SEVERSON: Ropesville, like hundreds of school districts across the country, receives federal funding for programs that are almost exclusively abstinence only. Over the past 5 years, the government has spent more than $800 million on such programs. Schools like Ropesville provide no comprehensive sex education, but invite abstinence-only lecturers like Ainsworth to fill the gap.

Mr. AINSWORTH (Talking to Students): I got up this morning and said, “Lord, all I want is one teenager. All I want is one. Help me change one life and I will be a success today.”

SEVERSON: Ainsworth is legally prohibited from mixing religion with his presentations, but like many on the lecture circuit, Ainsworth comes from an evangelical background and says if the kids are like him and have a close relationship with Christ, they’ll stay sexually pure. He has also been a youth pastor for 27 years.

[…]

SEVERSON: In 2002, some Lubbock high school students grew so alarmed at the surge of sexually transmitted diseases, they requested more sex education in schools — more comprehensive sex education. They were refused.

Erica Vales attended one of Ainsworth’s sessions.

ERICA VALES (Student): Like, he didn’t say anything about birth control. He just said the Bible says abstinence is better until marriage — that was in the assembly we took during school. He told us that.

Mr. AINSWORTH: I am not going to promote the use of condoms and those kinds of things, knowing that a student can listen to me and walk out of here and, albeit their choice, go have sex with someone who has AIDS, and use a condom, and die.

DARLENE WORKMAN (School Nurse, Vines High): I spent eight years handing out the protection. And you know what? They’re too young to be mature enough to use it.

SEVERSON: Darlene Workman is the school nurse at Vines High. She came here after quitting her job as a director of a family planning clinic in Michigan, where they taught comprehensive sex education and handed out condoms.

Photo of DARLENE WORKMAN

Nurse Workman, who makes career choices based on the reasoning of children

Ms. WORKMAN: One of my students came up to me and said, “Well, Ms. Workman, if you’re handing these out, that means you must think it’s okay for us to participate.” And I never in the world thought it was okay. So what I did was quit.

SEVERSON: One of the first things she did here was start an abstinence-only club. They are becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the country. This is David.

DAVID: When condoms are presented as a way to have safe sex and avoid the ramifications, they do encourage teens to have sex.

Ms. VALES: Well, it will encourage some people, but it will prevent a lot of pregnancies. Or even just telling girls about birth control. Because nobody ever talks about birth control.

Photo of books

Stuff that Nurse Workman finds more mature than contraceptives.

SEVERSON: A recent congressional study cast some doubt on the effectiveness of federally funded abstinence-only programs. The study found scientific inaccuracies in many of the textbooks, which, for instance, quote a much higher failure rate of condoms than is the case.

One textbook states that the HIV virus can be transmitted through tears, sweat, and saliva. Not true. Marilyn Morris says the study was biased and politically motivated.

Ms. MORRIS: Because I think they are people who are very, maybe, antireligious. And they looked at the abstinence message as a religious message. But for us, at Aim for Success, it is a health issue.

SEVERSON: Another study found that 88 percent of kids who had taken an abstinence pledge admitted having sexual intercourse before marriage, and that teens who contracted STDs were less likely to realize they had a disease.

Ms. SCOTT KITCHING: The more knowledge you have on the subject, the more equipped you are to handle that subject. If you look at studies in other countries, in Europe where sex education is comprehensive, you can see clearly that their rates are lower than ours.

SEVERSON: And in Texas, the STD rates keep rising steadily.

Ms. WORKMAN: That says we have a lot of work to do. It doesn’t say that we should hand out condoms, to me, at all. I think the churches need to get together. I think the community needs to get together. I think the parents need to take up to the plate — stand up to the plate and take some action here.


Yep. So I’m sure the next “serious issue” the Theocratic Republicans will take up re: health care reform will be something along the lines of “not one damned cent of American taxes should go to encourage promiscuity” when they seek to excise the provision of free contraceptives from the health care reform bill.

But remember people, the Theocrats are vewy, vewy concerned about all these lower-class folks choosing to have abortions and desperately want to help out by turning them into a criminal or perhaps an excommunicated sinner.

UPDATE (7/20): Republican Party = Really Fucking Clueless

UPDATE 2: (7/21): Rachel Maddow on Tiahrt’s connection with “The Family”. I’m going to write more on this special band of Chrisianist Theocrats later.

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2 Responses to ““If you think about it in human terms…””

  1. […] wrote about this topic quite recently, but an update is in order after the Guardian published this […]

  2. […] golly jeepers, lookee who else is a member of the Congressional wing of The […]

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