No connection to reality at all

Isn’t this so symptomatic of Republican stupidity?

…the FDA released an internal memo showing that one high-ranking FDA official was sincerely worried about adolescents forming “sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B.” Seriously.

The evidence, which may not be relevant to the Bush administration, shows no link between access to Plan B and risky sexual behavior, worse yet “sex-based cults.” How Bush-appointed “scientists” come up with such nonsense is a mystery.

If the administration said, “We’re morally opposed to emergency contraception,” we could at least have a reasonable debate. If the administration said, “We could go for this, but the Dobson crowd would kill us,” we would at least be facing political realities.

Instead, the Bush gang insists on a bizarre approach, in which they claim to base decisions like these on science, but ignore their own experts, hide embarrassing facts, and then lie about it. In the case of Plan B, the result is more unwanted pregnancies and more abortions.

For reasons that are unclear, the GOP’s religious right base seems to think this is a great idea.

I have an idea. Instead of blindly restricting the use of a safe and useful contraceptive, how about if we increase the level of sex education so that these mythical kids planning imaginary “sex parties” would realize that Plan B actually has a fairly high failure rate and doesn’t block sexually transmitted diseases at all? Then they’d know that this whole idea was very, very bad.

Oh, wait…the religious right opposes that, too.

Second option: how about if we require FDA bureaucrats to get instruction in how sex and reproduction works? They could hire me to give the birds and the bees talk to a roomful of stuffed shirt Washington drones.


  1. Steve LaBonne says

    The talk wouldn’t help. The only thing that might help is figuring out how to help the drones get laid once in a while, which might dampen their obsessive fear that other people might be having sex. Wanna be their dating coach?

  2. says

    This is exactly the type of moral scare-tactic that tribal-religous pharisees have been force-feeding the faithfull for thousands of years. It’s really just “Reefer Madness” but instead of Cannabis, the evil in this story contraception. Sigh… Can we evolve already?

  3. PaulC says

    It takes a religious nut to come up with these kinds of ideas. If you left me in solitary confinement for a week and made me write down everything I could think of to say about Plan B contraception, I still don’t think I’d come up with the idea of teens developing “sex-based cults” around it.

    It never ceases to amaze me how the religious see everything as a competing religion.

  4. Dark Matter says

    This comes as no suprise, the party in power is now captive to
    a bunch of people who are preoccupied with finding the next
    doomdsay monster and inculcated fear.

    Tho those readng this blog, I would suggest you search far and wide
    on the internet to see if you can get your hands on a BBC
    documentary called “The Power of Nightmares”—It’s about
    how this kind of thinking comes about. *Highly, highly*

  5. Ginger Yellow says

    Digby was all over the “teen sex cult” story ages ago, but this story of a woman forced into an abortion is the inevitable result of this religion-driven stupidity. These people are so obsessed with their own moral righteousness that they don’t give a damn if it actually results in more abortions. It’s so incredibly dumb – because some idiots don’t like the idea of “consequence-less sex”, something that prevents people from having to have an abortion is banned. You couldn’t have a clearer demonstration that these people don’t care about abortion, they care about sex.

  6. says

    I don’t recommend telling Republicans about the birds and the bees.
    The idea of having to rip out the equivalent of one’s own testicles after copulation would scar their little minds further.

  7. says

    You know, if I were going to form a sex-based cult based on the easy access to a certain type of contraception, I’d form one around condoms.

    – are already available over-the-counter to all ages (no “conscience clause” silliness applies to checkout clerks, or to vending machines)
    – are already stocked in stores everywhere
    – are relatively inexpensive
    – protect against almost all STDs
    – protect against pregnancy as well as any other single contraception method
    – can be used every day without medical implications (assuming they can be used at all; obviously, those with latex allergies are in a slightly different situation)

    Who needs plan B? Not the teenager planning an orgy cult.

    They really should just come out and say “look, a huge portion of our base wants to punish women for teh sex, and we’re trying to give that to them”.

  8. says

    Heck, who needs condoms? Mutual masturbation parties! If human teenagers had no sense of restraint or social concern, why aren’t they all wantonly diddling each other at every opportunity?

    I think there’s not just a complete cluelessness here about how sexuality works, but about the social priorities of normal American kids.

  9. says

    PZ wrote, “If human teenagers had no sense of restraint or social concern, why aren’t they all wantonly diddling each other at every opportunity?”

    Hmm. It’s been a few years (OK, decades) since my Catholic high school days, but as I recall, we were “wantonly diddling each other at every opportunity.” We just didn’t get that many opportunities.

  10. Dianne says

    [condoms]can be used every day without medical implications (assuming they can be used at all; obviously, those with latex allergies are in a slightly different situation)

    Actually, there are non-latex polyurethane condoms available. Avanti makes them IIRC. The female condom is non-latex too. And makes an interesting sex toy for reasons I won’t go into here but are obvious to users. In case any latex-allergic teenagers planning sex orgies happen to be reading this and are pondering their options.

  11. Dianne says

    Mutual masturbation parties!

    Well, there go your chances of becoming Surgeon General, right out the window! (Yeah, I know, you’re not an MD either, but with this administration competence and qualifications don’t seem to matter so I don’t think that little wrong degree issue would be a problem.)

  12. says

    If human teenagers had no sense of restraint or social concern, why aren’t they all wantonly diddling each other at every opportunity?

    It just goes to show that they completely do not understand that in absence of the rule of religious authority, people aren’t going to suddenly run around having sex with everything and sprinkling gametes on doughtnuts. Because it’s probably what they would think to do first, if they thought they could get away with it.

  13. David Harmon says

    PZ, you’re still being too polite. ;-) Like much of what comes out of the Shrub Administration, this cannot be “adequately explained by stupidity”. Malice, mendacity, and manipulation, yes. Stupidity, no.

  14. PaulC says

    How long till we get calls for a constitutional amendment against teen contraceptive cults? This could be the defining issue of our times.

  15. says

    Apparently they missed the fact that teenagers are, by definition, walking sex bombs waiting to go off.

    More seriously – “sex cults”? – what kind of bad fiction have they been reading? – Gor novels?

  16. nulldevice says

    It’s obvious that whoever came up with that sex-cult hypothesis has never actually had any experience with Plan B. It is not a fun drug. The side-effects are unpleasant. What teen is going to want to spend the next day taking multiple fairly-expensive pills and trying not to vomit?

    It’s also obvious that they spent their high school years with their eyes closed and their fingers in their ears. Certainly, my high school had well-established, well-known sex cults. We called them “the football team” and “the cheerleading squad.” And the good, religious, conservative parents were encouraging their kids to participate. Imagine.

  17. says

    Hmmm, has anyone heard of people trying to get age limits put on the sale of condoms? You’d think someone would want us to “think of the children” and ban anyone under 18 from buying them.

  18. Molly, NYC says

    Libido is quite durable and the religious right’s campaign to make it universally as pleasureless, risky and humiliating as possible can ultimately do very little to decrease it.

    What they’re trying instead is to perpetuate is the sick head-game that was done to each of them: The perversion of a wholesome interest in one’s own sexuality into a vicarious interest in everyone else’s. These people aren’t any less sexual than the rest of us–it’s just been turned from thinking about what enjoyment they might have themselves into an obsession with what strangers are imagined to do–projection on a massive scale.

    Plus, all the discernment, self-control and good sense that comes with real-life experience gets stripped out. It’s as if they’re all emotionally stuck in junior high school. They have adult bodies and perogatives, but not adult judgement. (And that’s what they want for your kids. Insist on it, in fact.)

    It’s also why it’s never terribly surprising when one of these public prudes turns out to have done something cruel or irresponsible in private.

    (Eg: The sweeping-under-the-rug tactics of the Catholic Church w/r/t its pedophile priests weren’t just abouit PR; sexophobia is a genuine career advantage once you get higher than a parish priest. The bishops making those decisions commonly chose the option that made a matter they could barely handle emotionally go away as quickly as possible.)

    (Incidently–does it seem odd to anyone else that the administration with nothing better to do than try to modify the Constitution to stick it to homosexuals is headed by the swishiest, most nelly president in living memory? Bush is like an over-privileged, in-the-closet version of Jack on Will & Grace.)

  19. PaulC says

    Elizabeth Ditz: “rainbow parties”

    That’s a new one to me too. I think the really disturbing phenomenon we’re witnessing is a rash of middle aged men engaged in elaborate fantasizing about what teens are doing when they’re not watching (and I count Oklahoma senator Coburn in this trend).

  20. HP says

    I was reading recently about Harold Bloom’s notion that contemporary American Christianity has become a form of gnosticism.

    Now, while not all gnostics are members of sex cults, it is nevertheless true that all members of sex cults are gnostics.

    The Christian right may be ascetic gnostics, but the fascination with sexual practice vis-a-vis religious practice is right out there for anyone to see.

    (Hmm… perhaps the reason for right-wing homophobia is the fear that homosexuals possess forbidden knowledge.)

  21. says

    nulldevice said:

    What teen is going to want to spend the next day taking multiple fairly-expensive pills and trying not to vomit?

    That’s pretty much the after-effects of ANY teen fun, at least any that’s worth a damn ;-)

  22. speedwell says

    Adolescent sex-based cults? Where do I sign?

    Just kidding. But seriously, I can see where they get the idea. Adolescent sex-based cults have been around for decades. Most of us know them as “high schools.”

  23. bernarda says

    Maybe it has already been mentioned before in this or another forum here, but even if this link is repetitive, it might be helpful to ones who missed it before. It is to “The Republican War on Science” by Chris Mooney.

    He has far to many examples unfortunately.

  24. Carlie says

    There’s a nice opinion piece in the Washington Post Sunday by a 40-something married mother regarding Plan B. Basically, she had unprotected sex with her spouse, tried to get a prescription for Plan B, and couldn’t because it turned out that her own doctor had a “moral objection” and wouldn’t prescribe it for her. She couldn’t find another who would within that 72-hour window (it was the weekend), and ended up having an abortion. Getting the abortion was a study in frustration as well. Point was, the lack of over the counter Plan B = more abortions, and not just for the irresponsible welfare teenager straw women the dissenters like to hold up as examples that the world’s going to hell.