Plan B: When Politics Beat Science

December 21, 2011 • Family Planning, Reproductive Health, Daily Email Recap

From Time Magazine.  See

Plan B: When Politics Beat Science

President Obama came into office promising to restore scientific integrity to policymaking, but his Administration has allowed politics to trump science several times-including with this week’s move to keep the emergency contraceptive Plan B from being sold without a prescription. But science-in climate change and in other areas-can only tell us so much. Ethics and values-and politics-are what really control policymaking, and it’s on climate advocates should focus their energy on changing those, instead of harping on the science.

By Bryan Walsh

On March 9, 2009, President Barack Obama-surrounded by lawmakers and scientific luminaries in the White House’s East Room-made a promise: his Administration, unlike his predecessor, would “guarantee scientific integrity” in federal policymaking. As Obama said in a Presidential memorandum released that day:

The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions.  Political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions.  If scientific and technological information is developed and used by the Federal Government, it should ordinarily be made available to the public.  To the extent permitted by law, there should be transparency in the preparation, identification, and use of scientific and technological information in policymaking.  The selection of scientists and technology professionals for positions in the executive branch should be based on their scientific and technological knowledge, credentials, experience, and integrity.

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