Monday, January 26, 2009

David Brooks Doesn't Know What He's Talking About

Surprising, I know. On PBS's News Hour last Friday, Mark Shields and David Brooks were asked to assess the impact of Obama's first few days in power - was this or that particular change symbolic, or real? All very interesting. One thing they mentioned was the lifting of the global gag rule. Mark Shields wasn't sure of the effects. David Brooks said the following:
Well, I agree. It would be very curious to know what actual effect it has. I remember going to AIDS groups in Mozambique and Namibia, and we have these big social issue battles over these issues. On the ground, it made no difference at all. So it'd be curious to know what the practical effect is.
Well, it's not really that surprising that those AIDS groups didn't think it would make much difference. I mean, pregnancy and AIDS both come from sex, but the global gag rule directly bans U.S. funds going to any overseas group that even mentions abortion as an option for pregnant women. So, although it does impact all reproductive health providers, and indeed HIV/AIDS is a part, clearly of reproductive health, David Brooks is either misstating, misunderstanding, or just an idiot. You choose which. I'm writing to him to just gently let him know of his mistake. Gently. Honestly.

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