by Jan Baughman
(Swans - January 30, 2006) The man's man, George W. Bush, placed a phone call on January 23, 2006, to Nellie Gray and the "March for Life" participants to lend his moralistic support and thanks for their devotion to such a noble cause. He affirmed his belief that those "self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence "apply to everyone, not just to those considered healthy or wanted or convenient." (It was inconvenient then that the following day a report was released exposing the White House's knowledge of the danger and lack of preparedness that awaited the weak and vulnerable people of New Orleans in the wake of Katrina.) But then, as Mr. Bush continued, "These principles call us to defend the sick and the dying, persons with disabilities and birth defects, all who are weak and vulnerable, especially unborn children." [Applause]. Mr. Bush then applauded Nellie's and his own efforts to build a "culture of life," citing the passage of the Laci and Connor Law, his vigorous promotion of parental notification laws, adoption, teen abstinence, work of faith-based groups, ban on stem cell research and human cloning ("because human life is a gift from our Creator and should never be used as a means to an end...") "We're sending a clear message to any woman facing a crisis pregnancy: We love you, we love your child, and we're here to help you."
As long as you're in the womb, you're loved and protected. After that, it's Hello, Cruel World.
Plan B, the "morning-after" pill that prevents pregnancy after contraceptive failure or unprotected sex, was recommended in 2003 for FDA approval by an advisory committee vote of 23-4 and became a target of the proselytizers of the culture of life. The drug's fate is now embroiled in FDA bureaucracy; its regulated timeline for review and approval circumvented by a call for public comment, which vote count will likely be awarded to Diebold, never to be heard from again. According to Dr. Michael Greene, a member of that advisory panel, "People at FDA were told that this approval was not to happen on the Bush administration's watch."
Even the hypothetical lives are more protected than real live ones.
"We, of course, seek common ground where possible; we're working to persuade more of our fellow Americans of the rightness of our cause. And this is a cause that appeals to the conscience of our citizens, and is rooted in America's deepest principles -- and history tells us that with such a cause, we will prevail," Mr. Bush told Nellie and The Believers. "We shall overcome," you could almost hear him wailing...
So, what is the solution for those facing a crisis pregnancy, for the weak and the vulnerable, for the victims of rape, or hurricanes, or the trauma of the soldiers on the battlefield in the war on terrorism, besides prayer and the government's love? Scientists are testing a new kind of morning after pill, a drug called propranolol used to treat hypertension, as an antidote for intense and painful memories that follow a traumatic event. "When you activate a memory in the presence of a drug that prevents the restorage of the memory, the next day the memory is not as accessible," said neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux, who is testing the drug for prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder.
While Plan B languishes in the agenda of the culture of life, one can at least look forward to the approval of propranolol, and hopefully its over-the-counter sale. Short of a miracle, it won't happen in time to forget the appointment of culture-of-life-judge Samuel Alito, but perhaps for the 2008 election aftermath, when the next generation of culture-of-life males takes charge; or when the War on Iran starts. Angry about the latest political scandal? Lost your job? No more health insurance? Take two government-issued propranolol and call me in the morning.
Meantime, while Mr. Bush is talking about loving the weak and vulnerable and using his political position to influence religious matters, the Pope -- that other venerable expert on love -- says that the church must use its charitable work to influence political leaders to help the weak and the vulnerable. Separation of church and state has become as quaint as those old-fashioned documents, the Geneva Conventions and the US Constitution.
Is this cultural devolution the result of a Darwinian process, or is "intelligent design" finally outsmarting us? Looking again longingly to science for an answer, researchers at Syracuse University recently reported that "among bat species with promiscuous females, the male's body used more if its energy to enhance the testes -- giving it the greater adaptive advantage -- and lacked the energy it needed to further develop the brain." Or as sexologist Benedict put it, "Eros, reduced to pure 'sex' has become a commodity, a mere 'thing' to be bought and sold, or rather, man himself has become a commodity."
Perhaps, then, the goal of this newfangled culture of life is not to protect the unborn after all, but the truly weak and the vulnerable -- that is, the omnipotent male brain -- from being outshone by the family jewels.
Keep life alive: