Defying advice from his own fact-finding team and State Department officials, President Bush will most likely cut $34 million in funds for vital healthcare programs to women and children in 142 countries, Knight Ridder reported Sunday. After signing a bill in January in support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), Bush froze the release of the funds in March after an extremist anti-abortion group claimed that the program supported forced abortions in China.
Bush sent a three-person investigative team to China in May to investigate the allegations and has refused to release their report since the team returned last month. However, State Department officials told Knight Ridder that the report concluded: “The UN program did not knowingly support coercive abortions.” “In fact, one of the officials said, the report concluded that the UN program improved women’s lives.” These officials also told Knight Ridder that the White House will instruct State Department employees to cut the funding.
Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Joseph Crowley (D-NY) are asking the Senate to subpoena the State Department report, according to Salon.com. “The President has put the lives of millions of women and children at risk, and we believe we must do everything in our power to reverse his tragic decision,” Maloney and Crowley wrote.
In a letter to Maloney, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, undersecretary-general for the Population Fund, said that the loss of the $34 million promised by the US will force the agency to cut back on programs that train birth attendants in Kenya and Algeria, help prevent AIDS in Haiti and provide HIV-testing kits and equipment for safe blood transfusion in Vietnam – to name a few.
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .