The price we pay for letting Bush slide; an official confesses wrongdoing

By Malena Amusa Jul 11, 2007

Stem cell research promises life-saving treatments for millions suffering with chronic diseases such as cancer and sickle-cell anemia. A vast population of people of color who make up an increasing number of sufferers have a lot to gain from politicians standing behind important data showing the value of stem cell research. Despite this, the Bush administration has worked diligently to suppress the truth about stem cell research and other imperative topics such as sex education, the New York Times reported today. Former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona under Bush confessed he was made to doctor data about health reports, give laudatory speeches about Republicans, and was even discouraged from attending the Special Olympics because, ‘why would you want to help those people,’ Carmona was told.

When stem cells became a focus of debate, Dr. Carmona said he proposed that his office offer guidance “so that we can have, if you will, informed consent.” “I was told to stand down and not speak about it,” he said. “It was removed from my speeches.” The Bush administration rejected the advice of many top scientists on this subject, including that of the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Elias Zerhouni. Similarly, Dr. Carmona wanted to address the controversial topic of sexual education, he said. Scientific studies suggest that the most effective approach includes a discussion of contraceptives. “However there was already a policy in place that did not want to hear the science but wanted to preach abstinence only, but I felt that was scientifically incorrect,” he said. Dr. Carmona said drafts of surgeon general reports on global health and prison health were still being debated by the administration. The global health report was never approved, Dr. Carmona said, because he refused to sprinkle the report with glowing references to the efforts of the Bush administration.

This should ring as a great atrocity to any American. With HIV/AIDS rates roaring in Black and Latino communities, it is maddening to see our Bush administration continue to support abstinence-only education, despite overwhelming studies that say a contraception-based education is key to saving lives. How can the Bush administration lobby war on our behalf, for our security and wellbeing and at the same time, compromise our lives by refusing to recognize, engage, and promote life-saving medical information?