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Environment

Hurricane-Climate Polling; Plan B Decision

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There are two things you've gotta read today on the politics and science front. First, check out Matt Nisbet's analysis of polls on hurricanes and global warming. A current Zogby poll is getting attention, but one single poll never really means anything from a scientific perspective. What Nisbet shows, though, is that when you look at all the polls on this subject--many of which have dubious question wording--the following conclusion emerges: "Outside of the scientific and technical debate, the power of the events and the many political claimants connecting the storms to global warming likely promoted public belief in the connection to global warming." Depending on the poll question wording, members of the public generally aren't right to think this, but that's not the point. The point is, many of them do. Meanwhile, the FDA has decided to make Plan B available over the counter, but has drawn a silly line in the sand, saying that women have to be 18 or over to get it. This bogus distinction arises from religious right's attempts to insinuate that younger adolescent women can't use the drug safely. For the whole sad story, check out Chapter 13 of The Republican War on Science....And also check out Art Caplan's appropriately outraged column on this.

P.S.: Just received Henry Waxman's statement on Plan B:

Today's decision for adult women is long overdue. But it's unfortunate that adolescent girls have been denied equivalent access. The science says that over-the-counter access to Plan B is as safe for teenagers as for adults. The Administration has apparently chosen yet again to treat teen pregnancy as a political issue rather than a public health problem. Adolescent girls aren't political pawns. They deserve the same access as adults to proven medical interventions.

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