Here’s another one to add to the growing list of “Bad Bush Administration Decisions That Kill People.” Since taking office our President has slashed the budgets for programs that promote condom use among teenagers to prevent unwanted pregnancy and disease. Instead, the administration has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into promoting abstinence. As a result, according to the Center For Disease Control, for the first time in fourteen years there was no increase in condom use last year among high-school students. Of course the Christian right will probably try to make this into a positive statistic, but nationally, experts are concerned about rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS. (One can only hope that Mark Foley wrapped his Weasel before going on Page patrol.)
Convincing young people not to have sex is a little like convincing starving people they aren’t hungry. Consider the success of the Catholic Church’s “vow of celibacy.” If educated adult men that have committed their entire lives to religious service and vowed celibacy can’t refrain from sex, I seriously doubt that a hormone-laden seventeen-year-old that watches several hours of racy MTV videos per day while surfing internet porn will be more successful.
But Bush’s silly policies grow more insidious internationally. In Africa and much of the developing world, condoms are an essential tool in fighting an AIDS epidemic that continues to kill thousands of people every day. Through budget cuts and political pressure, Bush is making the life-saving little Jimmie much harder to get, and accordingly, people die.