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Sex, Science, and Stem Cells: Inside the Right Wing Assault on Reasonby Diana Degette
Synopses & Reviews
In August 2001, President George W. Bush announced with fanfare that federal funds would be made available to scientists conducting research on human embryonic stem cell lines—with restrictions. Reading his words, not his lips, was Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorados First Congressional District, and what she read was this: a ban. As a practical matter, she notes, scientists could no longer conduct research on nonapproved stem cell lines in laboratories that had received any federal money for their facilities or equipment—even if those monies had not been directly earmarked for stem cell study. According to Congresswoman DeGette, this one half-baked executive order effectively killed most publicly funded embryonic stem cell research in the United States from that point forward.”
In Sex, Science, and Stem Cells, Congresss leading advocate of stem cell research presents a blistering indictment of the politicization of science—and sex—by the Bush administration, the Republican leadership, and the religious right. Addressing not only stem cell research but also birth control, HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns, abortion, and sex education, Congresswoman DeGette takes the Bush White House and its fundamentalist allies to task for subverting any real discussion of human sexuality and reproduction.
DeGette writes from experience—and hard-earned frustration. During fifteen years in office, her fight for sound public policy for ethical, cutting-edge scientific research has consistently been foiled by religious conservatives who seek to place their own ideology ahead of science and reason. Pulling no punches in her scrutiny of a Republican leadership that has long shirked matters relating even remotely to human sexuality, she concludes that many of Americas elected officials are simply too blinded by religious dogma to think rationally about sex. In Sex, Science, and Stem Cells, she dares to do what they cant, or wont—open the door to responsible, fact-based legislation going forward.
"U.S. Congresswoman DeGette, of Colorado, doesn't mince words regarding religious conservatives in congress who have been pushing, since Reagan, for abstinence-only sex education, a ban on stem cell research, and other ways of 'undermining scientific progress in the name of God.' Calling this 'political malpractice' of a 'malignant, self-serving, and unconscionable' sort, DeGette's riveting insider's account reveals how conservatives have controlled the agenda on woman's issues, especially after the 2000 election. Though her opponents are largely Republicans, DeGette works with moderates and conservatives across the aisle while facing opposition from anti-choice Democrats, as in a crucial vote to prevent a ban on stem cell research. DeGette also writes movingly about her daughter's diabetes, which made stem cell research a personal cause; sadly but predictably, her triumphant legislation, crafted across party lines and with the support of Nancy Reagan, is dashed by a Bush veto. DeGette's report from the D.C. front lines is often infuriating, but her exposure and takedown of conservatives' more outrageous arguments (against, for instance, insurance coverage of government workers' birth control) provide reason to hope for a backlash." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Congresswoman Diana Degette believes that the Silent Majority today is made up of people who believe in scientific research on reproductive issues and the use of stem cells in searching for cures for conditions like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes. She argues that during her time in Congress, the conservative religious right has worked in collusion with the Bush administration to prevent anything smacking of birth control from being implemented by government programs. Detailing what she believes are heavy handed and underhanded practices, Degette and her co-author, Paisner, sound a call for the end of tyranny by the minority. She proposes ways in which average citizens can be heard, starting with voting against John McCain. This is a cry from the heart from a woman who is passionate in her concerns. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
U.S. Congresswoman Degette weighs in just prior to the 2008 presidential election on the persistent absurdity of the Bush administration in its efforts to politicize sex, and looks at the conservative agenda as it relates to bioethics and scientific research.
Sex, Science, and Stem Cells
INSIDE THE RIGHT WING ASSAULT ON REASON
Congresswoman Diana DeGette
A top congresswomans stinging rebuke of those who politicize science and sex.
Over time, I realized that the politicization of science by the Republicans and the religious right was at its most insidious over any issue relating to human reproduction. This brought me to the inevitable conclusion that too many of our elected officials are simply incapable of thinking rationally about sex. I could think of no other explanation. The disconnect was so transparent that some of our older male politicians couldnt even talk about any aspect of human sexuality without biting their lips to avoid snickering like schoolboys.”
— From the Introduction
About the Author
Congresswoman Diana DeGette is serving her sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives as the representative for the First District of Colorado. She is the chief architect of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which passed the House and Senate in both the 109th and 110th Congresses with broad, bipartisan support, but was vetoed by President Bush on each occasion. Congresswoman DeGette lives in Denver, Colorado.
Daniel Paisner is the author of more than forty books, on topics ranging from business and sports to politics and entertainment. He lives in Port Washington, New York.
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