Boy Scouts of America Propose Accepting Gays under the Age of 18
The Boy Scouts of America have until now resolutely refused to accept gay scouts or scout masters. However, this past year the Boy Scouts of America have come under pressure by individuals, businesses and organizations who have refused to continue to support them because of their anti-gay policies. In response, the Boy Scouts of America now propose accepting gay scouts but continuing to ban gay adults from their organization. They will vote on this proposal at their upcoming National Council meeting later this month. So the Boy Scouts of America now propose accepting boys who are gay and but showing them the door when they turn 18.
The Boy Scouts of America also need to end their ban on atheist scouts and scout masters. Scouting should be about dealing constructively with other people and with nature and not about imposing supernatural beliefs on people.
The Boy Scouts of America should learn that building a community is about teaching cooperation, respect and tolerance – not about excluding those who are different or with whom some may disagree.
Verdict: Boy Scouts of America Proposed Policy on Gays and Current Policy on Atheists – Not Good Enough!
Ireland Proposes Abortion Law
In response to the international uproar over the death of Savita Halappanavar, the Irish government has proposed a new abortion law. Savita Halappanavar was a 31 year old dentist admitted to a Galway hospital while miscarrying. She and her husband repeatedly requested the physicians to perform an abortion, but the physicians refused until the fetus’ heartbeat stopped. As a consequence of the delay in emptying her uterine contents, Savita Halappanavar became septic and died.
The proposed new law however would provide for abortion only to save the mother’s life. This is far from adequate. As I pointed out, one often cannot tell in advance if a woman would die if an abortion is not performed. This was in fact the case with Savita Halappanavar. Her physicians could not have predicted with any certainty that if they did not empty her uterine contents, at the time she requested it, that she would become septic and die. However, that is precisely what happened in her case.
More importantly, every human being has the civil right to control his/her own organs. We do not, for example, compel an individual to donate his/her organs to another individual – even if that individual is a relative. Thus the state does not have the right to force a woman to use her organs to maintain a pregnancy – even if one were to subscribe to the extremely dubious proposition that the fetus is in fact a person and has rights equal to that of the mother.
The proposed Irish law still violates a woman’s most basic human right – the right to control the use of her own organs.
Verdict: Proposed Irish Abortion Law – Not Good Enough!
Obama Administration Limits Availability of Emergency Contraception
The morning-after pill is an emergency contraceptive effective if taken shortly after sexual intercourse – optimally within 24 hours. After a multi-year delay, in 2006, the FDA approved making this contraceptive available without a prescription for women 18 years of age and older. In 2009 the FDA, following the ruling of a New York federal court, agreed to make the contraceptive available to women age 17 years of age and older without a prescription.
In December, 2011 the FDA had reviewed and was prepared to approve Teva Pharmaceuticals Plan B One-Step morning-after pill on an over-the-counter basis without an age restriction. The FDA had determined that the medication was both safe and effective in all age groups. However, Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary, overruled the FDA decision. This was the first time in the history of the agency that an FDA decision had been overruled by the Secretary. President Obama backed Kathleen Sebelius’ decision.
On April 5, 2013 U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ruled that the FDA must make the emergency contraception available without a prescription to women of all ages within 30 days. He stated that politics and not science had dictated Sebelius' decision. Apparently in response to this order, on April 30 the FDA issued a new decision that women 15 years of age and older could obtain the contraceptive without a prescription, but that the cashier would have to require proof of age prior to purchase. On May 1, 2013 the Obama administration filed an appeal of Judge Korman’s order.
The point here is that the rational medical treatment of an adolescent girl under age 15 who has just recently had unprotected sexual intercourse is for her to receive the morning-after pill as soon as possible. A girl 14 years of age or younger should not be pregnant from a multitude of perspectives. In particular, it is a danger to the girl’s health both physically and psychologically. The morning-after pill is safe, and certainly it is much safer for the girl to take the morning-after pill than to carry a pregnancy to term or to have an abortion. Furthermore, most teenagers who are not old enough to have a driver’s license do not carry identification stipulating their birth date. Thus requiring proof of age prior to purchasing the morning-after pill will inhibit all teenagers from accessing this emergency treatment – not just those under age 15. Finally, requiring that any woman provide proof of age to a cashier before purchasing an emergency contraceptive may be sufficiently embarrassing to that woman to inhibit her from making the purchase.
Any policy that may prevent, inhibit or delay a woman or girl from obtaining a safe and vitally important emergency contraceptive is unacceptable. This especially is so because the effectiveness of the contraceptive decreases with delay in taking it. The Obama administration should withdraw their appeal and immediately comply with Judge Korman’s order.
Verdict: Obama Administration Policy on Emergency Contraception – Not Good Enough!