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Daughter Knows Best

The Family Research Council argues against funding the family planning program that Orr is slated to supervise. "We don't think there is an argument for taxpayer funding of contraception," the group's vice president for government affairs, Tom McClusky, told me.

The group has echoed that message in a prayer alert about the $283 million a year program that funds family planning clinics for low-income women. "Pray that Title X funding, which has increased even under Republican rule, will not be expanded," it urged. "May President Bush use the veto pen if necessary to make sure that the culture of death is restrained."

Asked if Orr agreed with those views, HHS spokesman Kevin Schweers replied in an e-mail: "Dr. Orr wouldn't have accepted the job . . . if she couldn't support the Administration's positions. This Administration has worked to ensure family planning grantees effectively provide safe and effective contraceptive products and services to clients in need." Hardly a ringing endorsement.

Almost 40 years ago, a member of Congress, urging the federal government to help lower-income women get access to birth control, made a point that seems lost on the Orrs of the world. "We need to take sensationalism out of this topic," he said. "If family planning is anything, it is a public health matter."

The lawmaker was George H.W. Bush -- and I suspect his granddaughter would understand, even if his son chooses not to.

marcusr@washpost.com


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