Bush Pushes for Legislation to Withhold $34 Million in UNFPA Funding
Legislation that will allow President Bush to withhold $34 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was approved yesterday by a House-Senate conference committee. The $28.8 billion supplemental spending bill contains language that allows Bush to withhold monies that would have been used to fund vital healthcare programs for women and children across the globe.
After signing a bill in January that allocated the funds to the UNFPA, Bush recanted in March when 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. The team returned in June, but Bush has refused to release its findings. 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.”
In a letter to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) who has repeatedly called for release of the State Department report, UNFPA undersecretary-general Thoraya Ahmed Obaid said that 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.
10/31/2014 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. . . .