Friday, November 12, 2004

First the USA; Then Women's Bodies

If you don't think an early chill is descending over the land of the free, consider the unilateral action of Chapel Hill's PBS station WUNC. The station manager has decided that the phrase "reproductive rights" must be banned from their air-space as potentially reflecting a political position on abortion.

Ipas, an international women's rights and health organization, was told to replace "reproductive rights" with "reproductive health" in their on-air messages.

According to WRAL, "WUNC's general manager said the station made the change to avoid trouble with the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC prohibits public radio stations from airing underwriting announcements that advocate political, social or religious causes."

Gosh, it's like someone actually thinks that El Presidente's FCC might use its power to squelch opinions that its masters in Focus on the Family don't like.

" 'Reproductive rights' is not a euphemism for abortion," a spokeswoman for Ipas said. "Among other things, it means the right to infertility treatments, the right to contraception, the right to information, the right to live free of rape and violence. In global forums, those meanings are universally understood. And 'reproductive health' doesn't convey all of that. It's important to say that our work is about rights as well as health."

We read about WUNC's craven fear on the same morning that additional word arrives of El Presidente's war on women. From Karen Tumulty in Time magazine:

"A quiet battle is raging over the Bush Administration's plan to appoint a scantily credentialed doctor, whose writings include a book titled As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now, to head an influential Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel on women's health policy. Sources tell Time that the agency's choice for the advisory panel is Dr. W. David Hager, an obstetrician-gynecologist who also wrote, with his wife Linda, Stress and the Woman's Body, which puts 'an emphasis on the restorative power of Jesus Christ in one's life" and recommends specific Scripture readings and prayers for such ailments as headaches and premenstrual syndrome. Though his resume describes Hager as a University of Kentucky professor, a university official says Hager's appointment is part time and voluntary and involves working with interns at Lexington's Central Baptist Hospital, not the university itself. In his private practice, two sources familiar with it say, Hager refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women. Hager did not return several calls for comment."

No comments: