Andrew Sullivan, In His Own Words
Since Mr. Sullivan teed off on me in a series of, as Emily called them, "intemperate emails," and since he confuses Emily with me and all but blithely dismisses us in a bare-whisper mention here (scroll down to ON ABSTINENCE), I'll take Emily up on her suggestion and post the exchange here, to set the record straight.
Dear Mr. Sullivan,Mr. Sullivan's reply:
We'd like to invite you to read some additional "debunking" information that we posted on the subject of birth control vs. abstinence.
Abstinence is considered better than "safe sex" and condoms by leading international population and health experts, such as Harvard medical anthropologist Edward Green, STD expert John Richens of London's University College, The Centers for Disease Control (as of Feb. 2004), the President of Uganda (who has credited abstinence with his country's success in battling the AIDS rate down to 6%, down from 15% in the 90s and 21% before that), and the Naval Research Laboratory.
That link above gives you all the URLs needed to get the legitimate information on all these statements.
An example of the kinds of research we quote in that link is as follows:
Regarding your comment on the Waxman statement claiming that "condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse" is "crap:"
"Researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) observed HIV-sized particles leaking through more than 33% of latex condoms tested under powerful electron microscopes. The HIV-1 virus is 0.1 micron (4 millionths of an inch) in diameter, which is three times smaller than the herpes virus, 60 times smaller than the syphilis spirochete and 50 to 450 times smaller than sperm." [found here, a non-pro-life, women's health website.
While it does not say the particles were actually HIV particles, how many individuals do you believe would want to take the risk, knowing that HIV-sized particles leak right through condoms at a minimum of the rate of 33%?
Even worse data was provided here: "Research conducted in the United States by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory revealed that the HIV virus is 60 times smaller than a syphilis bacterium and 450 times smaller than a human sperm. Analyzing test results conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control which tested leakage rates of latex condoms, doctors discovered a 78% HIV-leakage rate. As one U.S. surgeon put it, "The HIV virus can go through a condom like a bullet through a tennis net."
Waxman is: 1) a politician, 2) a Democratic Congressman (not known to be pro-life; apologies to my Democrats for Life friends), 3) not a medical doctor or scientist, AND 4) "Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), has already tried to abolish some $50 million in abstinence-education funding and replace it with sex-education money states could use for either safe sex or abstinence programs. Waxman's bid failed, but others are in the works."
That was reported in January '04. It is suspicious at best and damning at worst that Waxman would then proceed to produce a report full of inaccuracies and insufficiently-backed claims, not to mention total ignorance of his own government's CDC, that appears engineered to the results he wants to see in this regard.
Finally, we personally are perplexed as to your reference to our blog under a "Theocracy Watch" title. We don't approach or even often discuss abortion or its after effects from a religious perspective, and most certainly never as an offensive against it, and we welcome everyone to participate. We have a wide range of readers and friends, including well-known atheists visiting daily and commenting often.
Thank you for your time and attention.
~ Blog-co-writer, http://www.AfterAbortion.blogspot.com
From: Andrewmsullivan@aol.comI answered him thusly:
Sent: Friday, December 03, 2004 3:35 PM
Subject: Re: "Mild and partial debunking" of Waxman "Investigative report"
so u believe that women should be subordinate to husbands in marriage? and that this should be government policy? and that half of all gay teens have HIV?
Oh, so that's your schtick. OK. You don't like being shown to be wrong. Who does? Looks like you didn't really read those links I sent. But your questions still astound. Boy, have you got a bunch of stereotypes you cling to. Where did you get all that, Andrew? To answer your questions, though I'm guessing you think you already know the answers:Mr. Sullivan:
1) No, of course not. This is a ridiculous, snide question.
2) it's already BEEN "government policy" to "spend 12 times more [government money] promoting so-called 'safe sex' than it does encouraging people to wait," so why not level the "playing field" since abstinence is being credited in many places with success? and
3) why would you even say something like this? Another snide question and completely off-topic. And I've lost 2 wonderful gay friends to AIDS and HIV-related illnesses before they reached the age of 40.
You don't know me, Andrew. I did hope you weren't like almost every other person of liberal-minded persuasion: painting me with that broadbrush stroke of "religiousfundierightwingnutjob" who then retorts with, "well if everyone is calling you that, it must be true, then!" Really!
I am already real. Spend some time really following our blog, if you want to learn something new about people who think differently than you do. I've read your blog, and it doesn't show me anything new about people who think like you that I haven't already seen. I'll go elsewhere looking for intelligent, respectful debates.
the questions are not ridiculous or snide.Me:
they refer to what is being taught children with taxpayer dollars in programs you support. you cannot acknowledge these errors?
i'm happy to see abstinence taught to kids in school. i have no problem with that, although the evidence doesn't seem to exist that it makes any difference. i do have a problem with hysteria and untruths being peddled with tax-payers' dollars.
"i do have a problem with hysteria and untruths being peddled with tax-payers' dollars..."I also pointed out to him the info from the above link that
....only when it affects "you and yours," though, not when it affects "me and mine" or "others'"... You want to hear that I have a problem with some of the stuff they're supposedly teaching? I do. I told you so by answering the questions. But I also don't believe what you and the MSM are peddling is 100% truth, so sorry to say. I've learned not to.
And all these years, you don't have a problem with the misinformation I've just shown you that close to $2 Billion has been spent on to foist onto our children: "$1.73 billion on programs that, in various ways, encourage "safe sex' [and] only $144.1 million in programs that encourage people, primarily teens, to abstain."
I could call you a hypocrite for your double standard, but that would be rude. As rude as you telling me to "get real."
...and the evidence has been given to you that abstinence does make a difference, but you apparently disregard it. Here's another proof: (read down past the Planned Parenthood info, although that is part of our problem here in the states)
Rail against what sticks only in your craw and that of a minority, but let the AIDS and abortion's harms to tens of millions of women, men and children just skyrocket. You care so much about the children being properly educated? How about them just being born? With 2 million U.S. couples waiting to adopt each year, and 1.4 million babies being aborted? Have you railed against that injustice too? Or the one where so many women have been harmed by abortion? It's just starting to come out into the open now. In ten years, it will be a tsunami. Why do you think that only 4 years ago, there were 226,800 post-abortive women in National Right To Life Committee and only 39,000 of them in NARAL?
If you want to be outraged, be outraged at it all. Or it doesn't wash.
if you're so worried about hysteria and spending taxpayer dollars: "...at the parents-not-allowed "Nobody's Fool" conference running yearly since 1990, Planned Parenthood has taught children as young as nine how to masturbate, have sex and gave them nine reasons to have abortions. [It also] makes 93.5% of its money from providing abortions and dispensing 633,756 Morning After Pills a year...[and] they also sell a 6-inch ruler for schoolkids emblazoned with the question, 'Does Size Matter?' directing them to their sexually-fixated website, TeenWire. [And] in FY2003, Planned Parenthood received $254.4 million in taxpayer money, an all-time record that surpassed tax dollars received in FY2001 and FY2002 combined (it's all in their Annual Report). The Bush Administration, on the other hand, is now having to give multiple millions to counteract the promiscuity education efforts of Planned Parenthood for at least a decade, maybe two or more."Mr. Sullivan's final reply:
annieMy final reply:
i have long written about my opposition to abortion. i am aware of the issues involved and am happy to support responsible, fact-based and SECULAR abstinence education by the govt.
my concern is that abstinence only education is actually just a sop to give govt. money to the religious right so they get to preach at public expense.
but your hysterical tone is alas what i have come to expect. you still won't acknowledge the untruths waxman has highlighted. you probably never will.
andrew,That's our exchange. Lock, stock and barrel.
"I told you so by answering the questions." What part of that did you not get? I do and I have acknowledged (before even reading this email, too) the untruths Waxman has highlighted. I'm not happy with them, nor do either of us know whether these are as widespread as the MSM and Waxman make them out to be. I pointed out he does have his own prior agenda so his motives and his objectivity are suspect at best, yet you ignored that and much of what I pointed out about your double standard.
And if it were reversed, and he was a religious-affiliated politician reporting the opposite, you'd be all over him with a tarbrush for his "hidden agenda," as apparently you think all who oppose traditional safe sex ed have. Another double standard. "We" are "hysterical" and "won't acknowledge," but you are not?
Ohio State's health site says re: condoms, "Effectiveness with typical use: - 10 out of 100 women will become pregnant."
That's not too far off the reported mark Waxman complained about.
BTW, those condemned abstinence programs did misquote the risk with condoms, "sex etc.'s" site says it's 85% with typical use (not perfect use), where someone puts it on wrong so it bursts, etc.
Was it overzealousness or purposeful misleading? Who knows? Perhaps it was a typo by some assistant in that abstinence program. You and I just don't know, do we? Do you realize how little paid their people probably are?
My point to you was that I acknowledge the untruths, but you cannot acknowledge the truths Waxman refuses to highlight--that still exist nonetheless--AND that we've paid close to $2 BILLION for already.
You confuse my upset over your rudeness for "hysteria." Perhaps you ought not attack people first, then see what kind of response you get. Would you expect me to roll over while you, the well-placed Andrew Sullivan, treat me like dirt when I approached you civilly, respectfully, intelligently, and with nothing but science, first?
First impressions mean a lot, but apparently not to you. Your out-of-the-gate, condescending tone is alas what I have come to expect from the MSM. You still won't acknowledge the truths I have highlighted for you. You probably never will. You are way too believing what you read by your fellow MSM. Bother to get to know what your compatriots black-out about many of those you deride, andrew. You'll be gape-mouthed if you do.