Bush's New Budget Allocates an Extra $28M for Abstinence-Only
President Bush's newly released 2008 budget proposal allocates more money for faith-based abstinence-only education programs and no increases for family planning services. The war-focused proposal, which has already received criticism from both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), allocates $28 million more -- for a total of $191 million -- for faith-based programs that teach and encourage abstinence to students aged 12 to 18. The additional $28 million will go towards the Community-based Abstinence Education competitive grant; funding for the two other federally supported abstinence-only programs, Adolescent Family Life Act and Title V, will remain at current levels.
The new budget provides no increased funding for Title X funding, which provides poor women with family planning services, or comprehensive sex education. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said of Bush's proposal, "He flat-lines family-planning services� yet proposes another huge increase, $28 million more, for unproven 'abstinence-only' programs that censor teachers from giving teens accurate information on topics like birth control," McClatchy Newspapers reports.
Advocates for Youth (AFY), an organization that promotes comprehensive information about sex for young people, is critical of Bush's renewed support of abstinence-only education because it puts "ideology over science and basic common sense." Says James Wagoner, president of AFY, "The President may still be in the dark about what works, but research tells us that teenagers who receive comprehensive sex education that includes discussion about abstinence and contraception are more likely to delay sexual initiation longer and, when they do become sexually active, to have fewer partners and use contraception than those who receive abstinence-only messages."
Bush's proposed $2.9 trillion budget, which aims to balance the budget by 2012, calls for a 10.7 percent increase in defense and homeland security spending and a 1 percent increase in domestic spending in 2008. Over the next 20 months, Bush is asking for almost $250 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, in addition to the Pentagon's regular budget, NPR reports.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .