A report issued Thursday by Democrats on the House Committee on Government Reform says that the Bush administration has "manipulated the scientific process and distorted or suppressed scientific findings" in order to push a variety of issues, including abstinence-only approaches to HIV and sexually transmitted disease prevention, The New York Times reports. The 40-page report, titled "Politics and Science in the Bush Administration," was coordinated by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and prepared by the committee's special investigations division. The report says that while 20 specific topics reviewed by the committee are diverse, they all share one common attribute: "The beneficiaries of the scientific distortions are important supporters of the president, including social conservatives and powerful industry groups."
The report is particularly critical of Bush's handling of HIV prevention, particularly his focus on promoting abstinence-only sex education. The report says the Administration deliberately altered performance measures used to gauge the effectiveness of abstinence-only sex education programs to be better able to claim the programs are effective. The report also criticized the Administration for removing information on condom use from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site and claimed the White House deliberately falsified information on the National Cancer Institute Web site to wrongly claim that there was scientific data linking abortion with a higher risk of breast cancer.
The Administration's "political interference with science has led to misleading statements by the president, inaccurate responses to Congress, altered Web sites, suppressed agency reports, erroneous international communications, and the gagging of scientists," the report concludes.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan dismissed the report, calling it inaccurate. "This administration looks at the facts and reviews the best available science based on what's right for the American people," he told the Times.