If you want to be Surgeon General, be homophobic, uninformed and evasive

If you want to be Surgeon General, be homophobic, uninformed and evasive

From Wired:

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA): Do you think it’s appropriate for the White House or the HHS to edit speeches that you were to give?

James Holsinger: I would sit down and talk through the situation and find out what the issue was that they wanted to edit, if that were the case, and then determine if I thought it were appropriate for it to be so edited. If I didn’t think it was appropriate to be so edited, then I would have a conversation with the appropriate people to discuss …

PM: If you were Surgeon General (SG) and there were an extremely important scientific report that was out there and you were told ‘Do not release that report,’ what would you do?

JH: If I felt that it was of overriding importance, as I’ve said before, I would resign.

PM: What would be overriding importance to you?

JH: It would depend on the particular situation and what the report was about. It’s hard for me to speculate exactly what that might be…

PM: You may be asked to do this. What would you say to somebody from the White House if they told you they did not want you to release the report? What would you say?

JH: I would sit down and say let’s talk about it. Let’s find out what the issue is. Let’s find out whether we can reach any kind of concensus on what is the appropriate way to go. If we can’t, and I felt it was of overriding importance, I would quit.

PM: Can you give us an example of an area that you would see as a conflict between yourself and what you have seen from this administration regarding any of their decisions at FDA or health-wise in the past four years?

JH: I’m struggling with trying to figure out how to pick out something, because I have not been tracking all those kinds of issues as closely as I might have had I known I was going to be nominated for SG of the US. I haven’t had any reason to.

PM: Well let me ask you a specific one. For the past decade, the federal government has spent more than a billion dollars on unproven, dangerous, abstinence-only programs — it’s been the most dramatic funding increase during the last six years — and a 2004 report by the House committee on government reform revealed that many of the most common abstinence-only curricula contained errors, contained distortions, contained stereotypes. If you had that scientific report in front of you, what would you say to the administration?

JH: Well, if it was one that I was supposed to sign off on, then I wouldn’t be able to. I mean, if there were distortions…

PM: Tell me what you think of the abstinence-only study.

JH: Well, I don’t — I have not had an opportunity to study them, or the science surrounding abstinence education, so until I was able to do that, I could not give you an informed opinion.

PM: You don’t have an opinion on abstinence-only curricula at all?

JH: Oh, I think abstinence is one of the mechanisms that we can use around unplanned pregnancies.

PM: What about STDs?

JH: And STDs as well, but I’m just saying that I have not studied the literature to be able to give you an informed answer. That’s all I’m saying.

PM: As SG, if you were asked about whether or not the correct and consistent use of condoms or other methods of contraception is an effective way to prevent unintended pregnancies, how would you answer?

JH: Well, I think condom use is an important approach to unintended pregnancies. I would encourage condom use.

PM: For young people? For unmarried people? Would you qualify it?

JH: Well, yeah… I think that, um, the… I would certainly do that for individuals that, um…

PM: As SG, you’re speaking across the country — you’re talking to a group of high school kids, and you’re asked a question about the use of condoms for young people — how would you respond?

JH: I would respond that that is one of a number of appropriate means of birth control and prevention of STDs. I would also talk about other subjects — such as the fact that they need to have conversations with their families around their sexual lives, and what’s appropriate. I think that I would encourage them to consider abstinence as one of those possibilities. I think that they need to be fully informed as to what the science shows, as far as the ramifications of unplanned teen pregnancies and the impact that has on the lives usually, only usually, on the mother, not the father, and that we need to have a fully informed group of young people in this country.

PM: What about Plan B? How would you respond if you were asked about that?

JH: Well, I think Plan B is available, so I don’t know why that would be an issue.

The last Bush Surgeon General was muzzled, and the new candidate is woefully uninformed (or more likely just dodgy). To add insult to injury, here is his 1991 paper condemning anal sex (in medical language which basically says “exit only.”) This just keeps getting better…

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