Swine Song: Bush Ally Orr Leaves Just as Domestic Gag Rule Is Reconsidered


As the Bush presidency nears its end, the Christian Right is
bellying up to the trough for a final feeding. They are hoping, with
Bush’s help, to get one more shot at their arch nemesis: the Planned
Family. Thus the Unplanned Family Research Council
has been spearheading a campaign to restrict federal funding for
contraception to groups that offer comprehensive reproductive health
care, including abortion. Their goal is to throw sand in the gears of
the nation’s largest provider of family planning services, Planned
Parenthood, by mandating onerous and superfluous policies on
the health care provider. Their plan is to force Planned Parenthood
construct a chasm between the contraceptive services it provides with
Title X federal funding and the abortion services it provides with its
own. We won’t know how burdensome the details of their plans are until
released but its rumored that clinics will have to make the chasm an
actual physical distance between the services, i.e. miles. One thing is
for sure: when the anti-family planning crowd is at the drawing table,
what’s "reasonable" won’t come to mind.

Many believe Bush will
alter the Title X regulations through an executive order and, given how
deeply unpopular the action would be with the American public, it is
suspected it could be done as early as today–just in time for the
public to be distracted by Memorial Day weekend plans.

Certainly,
the stage is being set for a dramatic attack on family planning. The
Unplanned Family Research Council had gotten Bush to appoint one of
their own, Dr. Susan Orr, a former Senior Director for Marriage and
Family Care at the Unplanned Family Research Council to oversee the
Title X program. Her most notable accomplishment in the year she has
served is to defend the abstinence-until-marriage approach in the face
of incontrovertible evidence it has failed. Now that the Unplanned
Family Research Council is within days of hitting another nail into
Title X’s coffin, Dr. Orr suddenly and quietly resigns from her post
so, one suspects, to not appear to have orchestrated the undermining of
her own program from within. Dr. Orr’s appointment to oversee the
program was a huge controversy, given her antipathy for contraception
and devotion to her former employer which hinders Americans access to
family planning. But her resignation has received no coverage. (Only
our dear friends at NFPRHA
have reported on it.) The agency she works for, the Department of
Health and Human Services, has not even put out a press release about
it and those inquiring about it by phone have been placed in automated
menu oblivion.

Something in this trough smells fishy.

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