Saturday, July 10, 2004

Science & politics redux.

Today's N.Y. Times has an article by Mireya Navarro ("Experts in Sex Field Say Conservatives Interfere With Health and Research") that sounds a familiar theme:
For years, Advocates for Youth, a Washington-based organization devoted to adolescent sexual health, says, it received government grants without much trouble. Then last year it was subjected to three federal reviews.

James Wagoner, the president of Advocates for Youth, said the reviews were prompted by concerns among some members of Congress that his group was using public funds to lobby against programs that promoted sexual abstinence before marriage. Although that was not the case, Mr. Wagoner said, the government officials made their point.

"For 20 years, it was about health and science, and now we have a political ideological approach," he said. "Never have we experienced a climate of intimidation and censorship as we have today."

Mr. Wagoner is among the professionals in sex-related fields who have started speaking out against what they say is growing interference from conservatives in and out of government with their work in research, education and disease prevention.

A result, these professionals say, has been reduced financing for some programs and an overall chilling effect on the field, with college professors avoiding certain topics in their human sexuality classes and researchers steering clear of terms like sex workers in the title of grant applications for fear of drawing attention to themselves.

"Programs almost have to hide what they do," said Richard Parker, a professor at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. "We have a major challenge ahead of ourselves."
Sound paranoid? It gets worse: "Professor Parker is also a co-chairman of the International Working Group on Sexuality and Social Policy, an association of researchers and other professionals, which released a report two weeks ago citing examples of what it called sex policing under the Bush administration. The report cited, for example, changes in factual information about sex education and H.I.V. transmission on government Web sites as well as questioning by members of Congress about research grants approved by the National Institutes of Health."
posted by tommayo, 10:05 PM

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter