NGOs and Members of Congress Criticize Bush’s AIDS Initiative
The Feminist Majority last week joined more than 130 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in writing a letter to President Bush stressing the importance of integrated family planning and HIV/AIDS education, Kaisernetwork.org reported. “At this critical time it is urgent to eliminate barriers to effective programs not erect new ones. We therefore oppose any expansion of the ‘Mexico City’ policy [also known as the global gag rule] and urge the Administration in the strongest possible terms to abandon its plan to expand these restrictions in any form,” the letter stated.
Twenty members of Congress reiterated the call with a signed letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, terming the President’s expansion of the Mexico City policy “a very grave and costly mistake.” The members warned that “Such a policy… will also make authorization of a comprehensive global AIDS bill in Congress a difficult proposition,” according to the Advocate.
This week, the Feminist Majority joins Population Action International (PAI), a DC-based health advocacy group, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) at a press briefing, entitled “International Women’s Health in Crisis” at the National Press Club. The 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. session this Thursday will cover topics such as the impact of the global gag rule on reproductive health services, the maternal and child mortality rates in Afghanistan, HIV prevention programs, contraceptives supplies, and unsafe abortion as a public health issue. Attendance is open to the public.