Thursday, July 14, 2005

Rep. Waxman Questions Misleading Federal Web Site

A few months ago, we at, along with hundreds of other organizations, signed a letter protesting a website that had been put up by the federal government, ostensibly to help parents talk to their children about sex. Unfortunately, as seems to be the trend these days, the web site contained more ideology than facts, and a number of us were displeased with it.

California congressment Henry Waxman is now speaking up about it. From the Boston Globe:
WASHINGTON -- A government website created to help parents counsel their teenagers about risky health behaviors provides "inaccurate and misleading" information about condoms, sexual orientation, and other issues, a Democratic congressman charged yesterday.

The website,, promotes sexual abstinence until young people enter into a "mutually faithful marriage to an uninfected partner" as the "healthiest choice."

But it could become another source of contention in a health ethics debate that includes issues such as stem cell research and end-of-life care, pitting social conservatives and some doctors against liberals and many in the medical establishment.

The website should be removed from the Internet and a team of specialists assigned to evaluate the accuracy of its contents, Representative Henry A. Waxman, a California Democrat, urged Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt in a letter sent yesterday.

"The content appears to have been guided by ideology, not a commitment to providing parents and teens reliable information about sex," Waxman wrote. "A federally funded website should present the facts as they are, not as you might wish them to be." US teen health site is 'misleading' on sex, congressman says

Mmm, I just checked our membership list, and I don't see any Henry Waxman on it. So I guess he's not getting this stuff from TeachTheFacts. Sounds like it, though.
Much of the work on the website was done by the National Physicians Center for Family Resources, an educational and advocacy group that promotes sexual abstinence for teens.

"The website was intended to emphasize the healthiest lifestyle choice, and [President Bush] says that he believes abstinence is the healthiest choice for adolescents," said Dianna Lightfoot, the nonprofit organization's president.

Department spokesman Daniel Morales said officials had not reviewed Waxman's letter and could not comment on his objections.

Waxman asked four specialists to independently review the site. Although three noted positive aspects, all found problems in accuracy, balance, and completeness.

We sometimes see our fight in local terms, us against the CRC to influence our little Blue county's two 45-minute classes on sexual variation. But, man, this is a big one. People at the very highest levels of our society want to promote ignorance across the boards, and they have the wherewithal to do it.

I may be overly cynical, but it seems to me that an ignorant population is easier to manipulate, easier to control, so those who crave power can attain and maintain it more easily. A skeptical, critical, intelligent population is going to question things, is going to check the facts, and is going to question its leaders when they act without explaining themselves. This may be a nuisance, but it seems to me that freedom depends on it. It is our duty to ensure that we and our neighbors are correctly informed -- it is more than a matter of satisfying our curiosity, it is necessary to preserve our liberty. Support Waxman in this.


Blogger andrea said...

It is very sad when Federal gov't websites and documents which are supposed to be for public health and education become dangerously politicized. HHS would not respond to my requests for information on the website and how much input the one non-profit mentioned had in its development.


July 14, 2005 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That website is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the current administration's unrelenting drive to replace scientific fact with political and religious viewpoints in all aspects of our society.

Dr. David Graham spoke out to address a public health concern: fatalities associated with use of VIOXX and four other similar prescription pain killers. Dr. Graham's supervisors at the FDA attempted to discredit him rather than accept responsibility for their own inappropriate approval of VIOXX to be on the market. See:

Interestingly, Merck, the manufacturer of VIOXX donates some of the firm's profits to political candidates for office and to 527 groups who lobby for certain issues, yet Merck refuses to tell its own stockholders which candidates and 527 groups receive the funds. See:

Philip A. Cooney was an oil industry lobbyist hired by the current administration to serve as the chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Mr. Cooney, a lawyer with a degree in economics and no experience in scientific research reviewed and edited reports written by the Climate Change Science Program. He routinely added modifiers to minimize evidence of global warming and to maximize doubts about it. See:,,205385,00.jpg Shortly after the New York Times exposed Mr. Cooney's handiwork (see:, he left the White House and returned to the oil industry.

W. David Hager, was brought into the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee over the objections of many medical doctors. See:,8599,361521,00.html Dr. Hager's tenure on the advisory committee lasted just long enough for the majority vote to provide Plan B Emergency Contraceptives over the counter to be overridden by higher ups. Dr. Hager wrote a book entitled, "As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now" and he and his wife, Linda, collaborated on a book containing specific scripture "prescriptions" for various maladies entitled, "Stress and the Woman's Body." They collaborated until she had enough and went public with his physical abuse of her (see: He subsequently left the FDA and returned to his private practice.

July 15, 2005 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, Rep. Waxman does have a residence in Montgomery County. He lives in the Bannockburn neighborhood of Bethesda just across MacArthur Blvd from Glen Echo Park. And another interesting connection, Bannockburn is known for it's aid and assistance to black activists promoting tolerance at Glen Echo Park in the 1960s. The park was not open to blacks (just as the CRC seems to want to close our schools to gays) at the time. Bannockburn rose up in this small fight - very much a part of the big fight - providing lemonade and bathrooms to the protesters and in many cases joining the picket lines. Finally the US Supreme Court forced Glen Echo to open its doors to all people.

TeachTheFacts is very much a part of a great movement for justice, tolerance, and freedom for gays in America. This is the final frontier for civil rights in this country. It is our moral obligation.

July 15, 2005 4:59 PM  

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