, of all places, has a new piece called The new lies about women's health
. Of course, as some point out, the new lies are the same as the old lies
. In other words, none of this is surprising to anyone who's been following this administration's disgusting repudiation of all things scientific
. The upshot is: ladies, we need to get rid of this administration as soon as possible, and meanwhile, make sure you know your doctor's policies on emergency contraception. Gentlemen, this is your battle, too, unless you'd like a whole lot more kids a whole lot sooner than you'd planned.
Apart from the Bush administration's generalized Evil, the reason this particular instance of it is worthy of our keen logical minds is that the rhetoric employed--besides clearly having nothing to do with the real reasons behind the policies described--uses a fallacy that gets thrown around a lot in politics: the perfect solution fallacy
. This type of bad reasoning says that if your solution to a problem can't fix it completely, then it shouldn't be implemented (also, incidentally, begging the question
of whether a perfect solution exists).
article details many instances of this fallacious thinking, the most impressively irrational of which is about HPV. First, the background:
A few years ago, several conservative congressional legislators asked King K. Holmes, M.D., Ph.D., how well condoms protected against STDs. "They asked whether condoms were effective against everything," says Dr. Holmes, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle and one of the world's leading experts on STDs. He told them yes, condoms were especially effective against HIV, and worked well against all STDs with one exception: human papillomavirus, or HPV, a few strains of which can cause cervical cancer. At that time, he said, researchers suspected that condoms did offer some HPV protection, but the data were incomplete.
So the reseachers told legislators that condoms protect against HIV and all STDs, except for HPV, which they did not have enough data on. Sounds pretty good, right? Certainly a lot better than unprotected sex, which protects from none of these things. Clearly you are not a right-wing activist:
Through lobbying and testimony before Congress, the religious right attacked government sex-education programs that included information on condom use. The Family Research Council argued that such programs expose "our youth to incurable disease on a daily basis. Most notable among these diseases is human papilloma virus, HPV."
Let's take a moment to appreciate how absurd this is.
Scientists say condoms are "especially effective" at protecting you from STDs. They're not so sure about HPV (though it looks promising).
The Family Research Council says that teaching about condom use exposes people to disease
In effect, the FRC and others are trying to exploit a perceived failure in an otherwise effective solution to argue that the solution shouldn't be implemented at all. They ignore all incremental gains that condoms provide--such as protection against that inconsequential little virus, HIV--so that they can peddle their fantastically useless abstinence-based "education."
When we keep following the HPV example, we find that the fallacies get deeper and the rhetoric gets emptier:
Soon, there will be another weapon even more effective against HPV than condoms. The drug company Merck has found that its new vaccine Gardasil is nearly 100 percent effective against the HPV strains that most often cause cervical cancer. Another vaccine, Cervarix, made by GlaxoSmithKline, appears to be just as effective.
...But conservative groups began voicing objections as soon as the drugs started making headlines. Sen. Coburn, for one, testified before the House of Representatives that "going after one or two types [of HPV] is halfway," a charge health experts find illogical since the HPV strains prevented by the vaccine account for most cases of cervical cancer.
Wow. Because the vaccine only works against one form of HPV, instead of two, we should not allow it. Even though it's a goddamn cancer vaccine
. Well, gee, why bother trying to cure cancer if we can't do it already? Why treat cancer patients if they're going to die or lose an organ or a breast anyway? Why should any of us do anything but lie down and wait for death?
Illogical thinking has a breaking point, a thought past by the whole line of reasoning should crumble. If the anti-sex forces in America didn't have enough of these already, the fact that they are actively opposing a cancer vaccine should be it. But of course it won't be. And, as the Glamour article's section headings neatly illustrate, that makes these nutjobs' irrational thinking our
YOU MAY NOT HAVE ACCESS TO EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION
YOU COULD BE DENIED RAPE TREATMENT
YOU WON'T GET ACCURATE HEALTH INFORMATION
YOUR TAX DOLLARS FUND MISLEADING SEXUAL-HEALTH PROGRAMS
YOUR DOCTOR MAY BE FORCED TO LIE TO YOU
HEALTH RESEARCH MAY BE STALLED
The article tries to end optimistically, with "SCIENTISTS FIGHT BACK" as the last section, but I for one feel too sick by the end to feel much hope. Those all-caps statements above are what happens when illogical misanthropic dogma subverts science.
This might be a good time to find out where your local Planned Parenthood
The article in Glamour
also talks about the denial of access to Plan B. The logical extension of this
idiocy is, of course, more abortions