The Washington Post reported late last week that President George Bush will likely eliminate the $34 million appropriated by Congress for the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA). Withheld since last January because of allegations by an anti-abortion group that the UNFPA promotes forced abortions and sterilization in China, the loss of funds could lead to as many as “2 million unwanted pregnancies, 800,000 induced abortions, 4,700 maternal deaths and 77,000 infant and child deaths,” according to UNFPA estimates. “It’s the women in 142 developing countries, including Afghanistan, which the White House purports to care about so much, who are going to suffer as a result of $34 million less going to prevent maternal death, infant death and abortions,” explained Susan Cohen, director of government affairs for the Alan Guttmacher Institute.
Despite a 2001 State Department report noting that the program encourages Chinese officials to “address family planning and reproductive health issues solely through the use of voluntary measures” and a letter from four House members urging Bush to release the funds, an administration adviser said senior officials “expect [the funds] to be permanently withheld,” according the Washington Post. The administration sent a 3-member team to China to investigate the claims. Although the group returned several weeks ago, the results of their investigation have yet to be released. An official announcement on Bush’s decision about the UNFPA funds is expected after the team announces its findings in mid-July.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) told the Washington Post: "We believe strongly that the programs work, that they merit US support and that we should not be so dictatorial to tell the UN not to do that…We would use whatever legislative tools are available to us." The UNFPA operates in more than 130 countries across the globe providing maternal and child health programs, family planning programs, and programs aimed at the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV-AIDS.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .