Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: More On Dr. Elders

Category: Access To Children's Health Care


As mentioned in last week's article Dr. Joyce Elders, the newly appointed Surgeon General for the United States, should be quite interesting and quite controversial. I have met Dr. Elders and heard her speak on access to care and I agree with her strongly on that issue. I also agree with her ideas on improving food programs for children such as WIC and simplifying immunization policies, particularly the twelve page patient consent form which is now required for all immunizations. I agree with her request of a simple one or two page form or video. I also agree that we need to be giving vaccines everywhere possible, from doctor's offices to health units to hospital emergency rooms to schools.

Dr. Elders feels very strongly that we need to attack teenage pregnancies. I agree with her that as we improve education from infancy up we will make a dent in the teenage pregnancy problem. I don't, however, agree with her encouragement of abortions through Planned Parenthood Clinics. I also don't agree with her wanting to give out condoms at all schools. I believe in teaching sex education in schools starting at an early age, but I believe that it must be done very carefully and with values instilled and with emphasis on abstinence. The statistics that I have studied show that sex education without teaching values just increases sexual activity - I guess by the power of suggestion. At any rate, the millions and millions of dollars which have been poured into sex education programs over the past decade have not decreased sexual activity, sexually transmitted diseases, or AIDS. Unfortunately, as I read the news, Dr. Elders and her cohort, Health and Human Resources Secretary Donna Shalala, both want to pump millions of dollars into more "safe-sex" campaigns. I wish they would try teaching children values throughout the school years at both public and private schools. Then, I think we would really begin to see some changes.

One thing Dr. Elders said recently that concerns me is in answer to her promoting Planned Parenthood clinics and abortion as a choice. She said, "We would like for the Right-To-Life, anti-choice groups to get over their love affair with the fetus and start supporting the children". This attitude from a pediatrician really scares me. I hope that all of us as a society will continue to have a love affair with all children, including the unborn, and that we will care for them before they are born and make sure there is a good home for every baby after it is born. I hope and pray that Dr. Elders is an effective Surgeon General and I hope she doesn't spend all of her four years focused on abortion.