Lawsuit Filed to Obtain USAID International Sex Ed Funding Information
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit demanding public documents from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) concerning any religious elements of their international abstinence-only sex education programs.
Senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project Brigitte Amiri said in an ACLU press release: "The United States government cannot be in the business of exporting religiously infused abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that we know fail to give young people the information they need to stay healthy. It is essential that the government provide all of the information it has about these programs so that the public has a full accounting of how taxpayer dollars are being spent."
The Courthouse News Service reports that the programs are featuring bible stories and verses as part of their instruction. An USAID Inspector General's report (see PDF) lists one such teaching, Psalms 119:9, which states that "God has a plan for sex and this plan will help you and protect you from harm."
The ACLU complaint (see PDF) says "abstinence-only-until-marriage instruction fails to provide youth with the tools they need to make healthy decisions. Indeed, providing information about and access to condoms is crucial in the preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, and withholding this information can cause serious harm to young people."
Media Resources: ACLU Press Release 2/18/2010; Courthouse News Service 2/22/2010; USAID Inspector General's Report; ACLU Complaint Statement 2/18/2010
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. . . .