FECK via FlickrI’m thinking of marketing a politician handshaking kit that would consist of one rubber glove that can be carried in a wallet or purse to protect potential politician handshaking partners from slime.

This started out as a comment on Kate’s post, but got so long I decided to put it up front. As Kate points out, the Democratically controlled House just approved continued funding of abstinence-only education to the tune of $50 million. What really makes this unbelievable is that the results of a decade-long study (PDF) funded by Congress, released just two months ago, showed conclusively that abstinence-only education has no effect whatsoever on the sexual antics of teenagers. The bar graphs starting on page 45 sum it up.

From the Washington Post:

The federal government spends $176 million a year on abstinence-only education, and millions more are spent every year in state and local matching grants. Harry Wilson, a top official in the Department of Health and Human Services, said yesterday that the administration has no intention of changing funding priorities in light of the results.

How did our politicians get away with voting to fund something like this in the face of an impeccable scientific study? It’s pathetic. We need better rules. Maybe we should make it illegal for Congress to fund things that peer-reviewed scientific studies clearly refute.

On the other hand, Congress is also looking at legislation to remove the gag rule (first implemented by Reagan, removed by Clinton, and reinstated by the idiot). Pregnancy terminations are a fact of life all around the world (about 40 million performed annually). Those religionists who are convinced that an embryo has a soul are trying to stop them by withholding funding from any women’s health clinic that even mentions that option (the “gag” part of the gag rule). A recent article in Newsweek claims that for every minute that passes a woman dies from complications related to childbirth. In other words, the gag rule is not only forcing impoverished women to bring children into a world of abject poverty, it is killing tens of thousands of women.

From the Sierra Club:

On June 21st, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its FY 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (H.R. 2764). Although the bill failed to address the fact that the president continues to withhold money from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), it did include a critical amendment, the “Lowey Amendment”, introduced by Chairwomen Nita Lowey (D-NY), that would exempt contraceptives from the Global Gag Rule and allow foreign NGO’s to receive US-donated contraceptives, even if the organizations are ineligible for other US assistance under the rule.

Well, better than nothing I guess. I found an article on the North Star Writer’s Group written by Jessica Vozel that did a great job summing up how our faith-based politics are wreaking havoc on women and children around the world:

In many cases, however, it is contraceptive funding that is cut to allow for essential reproductive health programs that save women’s lives in areas where public health systems are failing or nonexistent. Contraceptives are the single most viable weapon against unwanted pregnancy and abortion, yet they are precisely what conservative lawmakers are taking away, and with dire consequences that go beyond unplanned pregnancies and abortion.

In case after heartbreaking case — in Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya and Ghana — a loss of U.S. funding forced women’s clinics and centers that educate the public about HIV/AIDS to close their doors. The health of both sexes around the globe is in jeopardy because of an ideological agenda that places the value of potential human life over that of existing human life.

All of this because of a belief that a developing cell mass has a soul. Some religionists just are not happy having tax-free, government-free places of worship. They have to break the covenant and use our political process to try to force their dogma down the throats of not only their fellow citizens but the rest of the world.

Since our politicians do not seem any more beholden to science than the general populace, rhetorically speaking, why not just replace politicians with polls and automated voting software using a coin flip as a tiebreaker?

(Photo: FECK via Flickr)