Colin Powell Departs from Bush Policy for Abstinence-Only Education
In an appearance on MTV yesterday, Secretary of State Colin Powell advocated condom use as a responsible way to prevent the spread of AIDS, diverging from President George W. Bush’s policies in favor of abstinence-only sex education. Powell said, “It is important that the whole international community come together, speak candidly about it, forget about taboos, forget about conservative ideas with respect to what you should tell young people about.” Powell’s statement comes after Bush made an announcement that he will seek a 33% increase in funding for abstinence-only programs in the FY 2003 budget, representing an increase of $33 million over the last year.
Abstinence only education programs prohibit discussion of birth control, condoms, and other family planning devices as effective means for preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unwanted pregnancy. According to a 1997 study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, “there does not currently exist any scientifically credible, published research” that show abstinence-only programs delay or reduce sexual activity. In the same year, a panel on HIV convened by the National Institutes of Health claimed “abstinence only programs cannot be justified in the face of effective programs and given the fact that we face an international emergency in the AIDS epidemic.”
Despite this evidence, Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer noted, “The president continues to believe that abstinence and abstinence education is the most effective way to prevent AIDS, to prevent unwanted pregnancy.”
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .