Sex, Science, and Stem Cells: Inside the Right Wing Assault on Reason

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Overview

Sex, Science, and Stem Cells

INSIDE THE RIGHT WING ASSAULT ON REASON

Congresswoman Diana DeGette

 

A top congresswoman’s stinging rebuke of those who politicize science and sex.

“Over time, I realized that the politicization of science by the Republicans and the religious right was at its most insidious over any issue relating to human reproduction. This brought me to the inevitable conclusion that too many of our elected officials are simply incapable of thinking rationally about sex. I could think of no other explanation. The disconnect was so transparent that some of our older male politicians couldn’t even talk about any aspect of human sexuality without biting their lips to avoid snickering like schoolboys.”
— From the Introduction

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
U.S. Congresswoman DeGette, of Colorado, doesn't mince words regarding religious conservatives in congress who have been pushing, since Reagan, for abstinence-only sex education, a ban on stem cell research, and other ways of "undermining scientific progress in the name of God." Calling this "political malpractice" of a "malignant, self-serving, and unconscionable" sort, DeGette's riveting insider's account reveals how conservatives have controlled the agenda on woman's issues, especially after the 2000 election. Though her opponents are largely Republicans, DeGette works with moderates and conservatives across the aisle while facing opposition from anti-choice Democrats, as in a crucial vote to prevent a ban on stem cell research. DeGette also writes movingly about her daughter's diabetes, which made stem cell research a personal cause; sadly but predictably, her triumphant legislation, crafted across party lines and with the support of Nancy Reagan, is dashed by a Bush veto. DeGette's report from the D.C. front lines is often infuriating, but her exposure and takedown of conservatives' more outrageous arguments (against, for instance, insurance coverage of government workers' birth control) provide reason to hope for a backlash.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599214313
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/4/2008
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Congresswoman Diana DeGette is serving her sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives as the representative for the First District of Colorado. She is the chief architect of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which passed the House and Senate in both the 109th and 110th Congresses with broad, bipartisan support, but was vetoed by President Bush on each occasion. Congresswoman DeGette lives in Denver, Colorado.

 

Daniel Paisner is the author of more than forty books, on topics ranging from business and sports to politics and entertainment.  He lives in Port Washington, New York.

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Read an Excerpt

An excerpt from Sex, Science, and Stem Cells

 

Over time, I realized that the politicization of science by the Republicans and the religious right was at its most insidious over any issue relating to human reproduction. This brought me to the inevitable conclusion that too many of our elected officials are simply incapable of thinking rationally about sex. I could think of no other explanation. The disconnect was so transparent that some of our older male politicians couldn’t even talk about any aspect of human sexuality without biting their lips to avoid snickering like schoolboys. There was a general and widespread discomfort in talking about sex, except in the form of bawdy jokes passed around by some of my male colleagues.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     viii
Introduction: What in God's Name ...?     ix
Where I Stand     1
The Bubble Bill     21
Ms. DeGette Goes to Washington     39
Charting the Course     56
Francesca     73
Angels Dancing on the Head of a Pin     88
Snowflake Babies     117
Send in the Clones     138
Abstinence Only     156
Whatever It Is, I'm Against It!     173
An Ounce of Prevention     185
"Through No Fault on Anybody's Part"     203
A Foolish Consistency     216
Afterword: Closing Arguments     228
Index     235
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Recipe

In August 2001, President George W. Bush announced with fanfare that federal funds would be made available to scientists conducting research on human embryonic stem cell lines—with restrictions. Reading his words, not his lips, was Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado’s First Congressional District, and what she read was this: a ban. As a practical matter, she notes, scientists could no longer conduct research on nonapproved stem cell lines in laboratories that had received any federal money for their facilities or equipment—even if those monies had not been directly earmarked for stem cell study. According to Congresswoman DeGette, this one “half-baked executive order effectively killed most publicly funded embryonic stem cell research in the United States from that point forward.”  In Sex, Science, and Stem Cells, Congress’s leading advocate of stem cell research presents a blistering indictment of the politicization of science—and sex—by the Bush administration, the Republican leadership, and the religious right. Addressing not only stem cell research but also birth control, HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns, abortion, and sex education, Congresswoman DeGette takes the Bush White House and its fundamentalist allies to task for subverting any real discussion of human sexuality and reproduction.  DeGette writes from experience—and hard-earned frustration. During fifteen years in office, her fight for sound public policy for ethical, cutting-edge scientific research has consistently been foiled by religious conservatives who seek to place their own ideology ahead of science and reason. Pulling no punches in herscrutiny of a Republican leadership that has long shirked matters relating even remotely to human sexuality, she concludes that many of America’s elected officials are simply too blinded by religious dogma to think rationally about sex. In Sex, Science, and Stem Cells, she dares to do what they can’t, or won’t—open the door to responsible, fact-based legislation going forward.
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