Friday, August 8, 2008

An open letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt

Secretary Leavitt,

First and foremost, let me state that you are an economist. You have no medical or scientific expertise; in fact, you only have a bachelor's degree in a completely unrelated field. You are unfit to take the helm of a position that requires you have comprehensive knowledge of American health. I am appalled that Bush appointed you, and I am appalled that you accepted his appointment (although the last Democratic appointee, Donna Shalala, a former chancellor of my university, was about as qualified as you were, and I'm not too happy that the last three HHS secretaries were political scientists).

Secondly, the text of the memo clearly states that you will redefine abortion as "Any of the various procedures -- including the prescription and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action -- that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.". That is unequivocally a statement that tries to redefine contraception as abortion. "No comment" is NOT AN ACCEPTABLE ANSWER, MR. SECRETARY. You have a duty to the nation, and you cannot shirk it. You owe us the truth.

Thirdly, you are clearly not listening to your scientific advisors here; you would do well to solicit the opinion of Dr. Elias Zerhouni, the director of the NIH. Pregnancies are not viable until they implant in the uterine wall amid the endometrium. If a fertilized egg is not implanted, it remains a fertilized egg and does not grow. Two medical dictionaries, a Zogby poll, and a bunch of conservatives' religious beliefs do not change scientific fact, besides the fact that the Zogby poll and a bunch of conservatives' religious beliefs are unscientific and probably come from a bunch of people who don't know squat about human reproduction. We who are in the scientific community and who are in the know about human reproduction think, bluntly, that your pandering to unscientific individuals is about the most disingenuous thing you can do in your position. As I said on your blog, by your logic, I have an abortion every month when I menstruate, and by your logic, every man who masturbates has fifteen million abortions every time he has a wank.

Fourth, you would do well to listen to some of the stories of women who have had to deal with birth control, and consider not only the numerous non-contraceptive reasons why people use contraception, but also the contraceptive reasons, and ESPECIALLY listen to women's reasons for having abortions. There are women who are glad they had them; every child should be wanted. Seeing as you are a man, you have never had to be in this position. Listen to those who have had to be in this position.

You are the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary Leavitt, not a Bush toady. Do your job.

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JLK said...

You know something, kldickson, I think you and I might have a lot in common. And while I don't have the abstract reasoning to do neuroscience, so much of what you're doing becomes the basis for what I'm doing. So when are you gonna blog about some neurotransmitters? (My personal favorite brain topic)

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Strakh said...


Is this the same Katharine that keeps getting whacked at on PZ Meyer's Pharyngula blog whenever she dares to commit the unpardonable sin of using her rational powers?
If so, I notice you are getting whacked for talking common sense yet again....
Really, now, haven't you noticed that the most frequent bloggers on that site seem to be little better than junior high level nerds who have just learned a little bit of science, a little bit of grammar, a little bit of politically correct b.s., and have yet to feel the surge of brain growth to take them out of the concrete thinking stage and into the abstract?
For instance, on "Another Mind Poisoned" you make perfectly legitimate points about the facts of humans with below average intelligence. We (those of us who are not below average) are being out-bred at a phenomenal rate. Unless we do something now, human evolution will be, if it hasn't been already, irretrievably damaged.
But, whenever the volatile subject of population control is brought up, even in atheist circles, the fur flies.
How sad. Anyway, know that there are freethinkers who do know what you are talking about and appreciate your efforts. If you would like to discuss matters like this in a rational manner please feel free to contact me.
Frankly, I'm getting tired of all the atheists who seem to have personal agendas and fight amongst each other like religidiots. Who would have thought there would be so much disagreement over what you *don't* believe?
I have withdrawn membership from every atheist association both locally and nationally over the ridiculous amount of internecine conflict and am continuing my studies on my own, currently in Julian Jaynes' and Daniel Dennet's works on consciousness. It would be nice to talk with someone who knows what all this is about.

In the meantime, Katharine, Joyous Solstice!

Anonymous said...

20, or 21 years old?


This explains why you are such a fucking arrogant asshat on Metafilter.

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