Roundup: Obama’s Promise to “Pro-Lifers”

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Roundup: Obama’s Promise to “Pro-Lifers”

Brady Swenson

E.J Dionne says Obama should make good on his promise to seek middle ground on abortion; Obama should end federal funding of abstinece-only and fund comprehensive sex ed; Philippine reproductive health bill sparks battle with Catholic Church; Gardasil can prevent genital warts in males.

Obama’s Promise to "Pro-Llifers"

E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post writes today about President-elect Obama’s assertions during the campaign that "there surely is some common ground" to be found on the issue of abortion.  Dionne claims that, Obama should make good on his promise to help "turn the page" on what is probably the most divisive issue in American politics.  Doing so would convince moderate conservatives that he means to govern from the center on divisive social issues.  Obama could move in this direction with support for a bill co-sponsored by two Democrats, the "pro-life" Rep. Tim Ryan from Ohio, and pro-choice Rep. Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut that includes money for contraceptive programs and social support programs for struggling families and single mothers:

Rep. Tim Ryan,
a pro-life Democrat from Ohio, stumped all over his state urging
Catholic groups and others on his side of the abortion question to put
their faith in Obama’s pledge. He’s confident Obama will keep it. 

"He could address this issue in a thoughtful way and take it off the
table," says Ryan, the co-sponsor of an abortion reduction bill with
Rep. Rosa DeLauro
(D-Conn). In moving quickly, he says, Obama would "show that there is a
new politics by acting on one of the most divisive issues of the last
30 years."

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This should not be hard, Ryan says, since the central elements of their bill are "bread-and-butter issues for Democrats."

These include contraception programs, even if they are a sticking
point for some social conservatives, along with "programs that are
going to encourage women to bring their children to term." Among them:
expanded health coverage for women and children, more child care,
adoption help and income support for the working poor.


President-Elect, Please Improve Sex Education

Dr. Karen Rayne, whose Adolescent Sexuality blog is one of our favorites, wrote this letter to the President-elect:

Dear President-elect Obama,

Congratulations on your election.

As you set the agenda for your first 100 days, please consider
comprehensive, developmental-appropriate sexuality education for
children of all ages.  I know you believe in this!  (Who doesn’t
remember that McCain ad…)  Now start to take a stand.  Make sure that
our children know how to keep themselves safe from unwanted pregnancies
and STDs, and that they have access to the information and services
they need to put that knowledge into action.

Providing education and preventative health care services and access
to birth control and condoms is far cheaper, easier, and accessible
than treating STDs or supporting unprepared women through pregnancy,
childbirth, and parenting.

President-elect Obama, right now, and through your first 100 days,
you hold immense sway over the American people.  Your election is
historic, and your ability to bring change is substantial.  I have
great hope that you will tend to this responsibility closely.

Thank you.

Sincerely yours,
Karen Rayne, Ph.D.


Philippine Reproductive Health Bill Stirs Battle with Church

A bill on maternal health care, which requires the government to
promote artificial contraception if it becomes law, has become a
between the powerful church and activists in the staunchly
Roman Catholic nation.  Some bishops have said they will refuse communion and other
sacraments to politicians who support the bill, set to be discussed
this month in the House of Representatives.  Others warn that the church’s crucial backing in the 2010
presidential and congressional elections will only be given to those
who oppose the bill:

"I have never seen the bishops so aggressive in a campaign to block
a piece of social legislation as in this case against the reproductive
health care bill," said Aries Rufo, a journalist who has been covering
church issues for more than a decade.

"In the last six attempts to legislate a population policy, a bill
never gets out of the committee level in the lower house. It is only
now that the chance of passing a law on family planning is really high."



Vaccine for Cervical Cancer Prevents Genital Warts in Males

U.S. researchers have
claimed that a vaccine for cervical cancer in women also cures genital
warts in males
prompting the drug’s maker to seek federal approval to
sell it:

Researchers who injected
Gardasil and fake vaccines on more than 4,000 males aged 16 to 26 in 20
countries over a six-month period found that 90 percent of recipients
who got the real shot did not develop the sexually transmitted disease
30 months later. The group given the fake drug resulted in 101 cases of
genital warts infection.

The men did not suffer any side effects
during the clinical trial funded by Gardasil maker Merck & Co. Inc.
The research is continuing.