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Another Bush bad choice

Family-planning advocates are outraged over the Bush Administration’s selection of Eric Keroack to oversee the federal Health and Human Service’s $283 million reproductive-health program and a $30 million program that encourages abstinence among teen-agers and forbids education about contraception and birth control.

Keroack served for more than a decade as medical director for A Woman’s Concern, a “crisis pregnancy center” in Massachusetts, a nonprofit group that does not distribute information promoting birth control and provides false and misleading information regarding abortion.

Critics say that Keroack is a poor choice to lead HHS’s Office of Population Affairs, which funds birth control, pregnancy tests, counseling and screenings for sexually transmitted disease and HIV. Democratic senators sent a letter last week urging HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt to withdraw Keroack’s appointment. House Democrats issued a similar call Monday. The job does not require Senate confirmation.

The Bush Administration touted Keroack’s experience as an OB-GYN as one of his qualifications for the job. As it turns out, however, Keroack is not currently certified as an obstetrician-gynecologist. Keroack was certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1995, but that credential has since expired.

To take action and sign a petition to protest the appointment of Keroack as the head of the country’s family planning services, go to www.ppaction.org/campaign/keroackpetition.

Hoosier deforestation

The United States Forest Service (USFS) is considering a request by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regarding logging in the German Ridge section of the Hoosier National Forest. The proposed project would clearcut 355 acres; shelterwood cut 120 acres and thin 215 acres for a total of 685 acres of logging; authorize the building of two miles of new roads, the building of two miles of temporary roads and the reconstruction of nine miles of existing roads. For more information, and to send your comments to the forest service, go to the Hoosier Heartwood Web site at http:// www.heartwood.org/alerts.php.

Really smart shopping

Heading to the mall to shop at The Gap or Abercrombie & Fitch? Filling up the tank at Shell or Exxon? The 2007 Human Rights Campaign Buyer’s Guide gives you the information you need to support companies that support equality. The HRC Workplace Project’s groundbreaking research gives you the tools to effect change in corporate America through your everyday purchases. Many companies still have a long way to go toward equality for all employees. But you can help turn the tide by making informed decisions about the products you purchase and the companies you choose to support, especially during this busy shopping season. The guide is available at www.hrc.org.

Kitty calendars

In an effort to raise funds towards spay/neuter surgeries for feral cats, IndyFeral is offering their 12-month, full-color calendar with special cover image by professional illustrator Rob Day and great color photos for each month of the year. All proceeds benefit IndyFeral Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to helping and improving the lives of unowned, free-roaming cats through colony management and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). The calendars cost $15 each (plus shipping and handling for mail orders) and can be ordered online at www.indyferal.org/calendar. The calendar is also available at Allisonville Animal Hospital and Central Indiana Pet Supplies “Plus” stores.

Plan B without a ’script

Planned Parenthood of Indiana is now offering over-the-counter emergency contraception at most of its 35 Indiana health centers. The product is essentially a concentrated dose of the same hormones found in birth control pills and can be taken up to five days after unprotected intercourse. While emergency contraception has previously been available by prescription, the public has been somewhat confused about what the product is and how it works. Emergency contraception does not terminate a pregnancy; it prevents a pregnancy from occurring. Emergency contraception does not interfere with an established pregnancy or harm a fetus. For more information go to www.ppin.org.

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