28 December 2005

Bush Administration Not Really That Pro-Life

The Bush Administration may oppose abortion, but they don't seem to adhere to the philosophy behind the pro-life movement. The most recent example: Despite Congressioal enactments that appear to forbid it, and strong internal agency opposition, the Environmental Protection Agency wants to pass a rule that would allow pesitcide companies to conduct tests in which children and pregant women are given pills laced with pesticides. The pay in such studies before they were passed was a few hundred dollars for the term of the study.

While double blind testing has its virtues, the usual human experiement carries with it the implied promise that someone thinks that the experimental group is receiving something that might be good for you. Admittedly, something that they aren't sure is good for you, but something that might be. In contrast, no one thinks that pesticides are good for you and just about everyone agrees that children and preganant women are extremely vulnerable to environmental contaminants. The purpose of these tests is generally to try to get approvals for levels higher than the levels permitted in animal tests plus a margin of safety. If the pesticide tested turns out to be dangerous, the test may leave a child disabled or impaired for life, in ways that may be subtle enough that the results won't be detected in time for them to make a difference in the distribution of the chemical anyway.

Unfortunately, in the Bush Administration, ethics is all talk, and routinely contradicted by its actions.

No comments: