Appropriations Committees Working to Restore UNFPA Funding Withheld by Bush
After the Senate Appropriations Committee, led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), approved the Foreign Operations Appropriations (FY2003) bill including $50 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in July, the House Appropriations Committee last week followed suit, earmarking $25 million for UNFPA. The Senate action came shortly after the Bush administration cut $34 million appropriated by Congress for the UNFPA. Bush made this decision despite a report from the administration’s own fact-finding team that found no evidence that the UN organization “knowingly supported or participated in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization in China.”
Introduced by Representative Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), the House bill (HR 5410) allocates $25 million for UNFPA while stipulating that no assistance be given to China’s State Family Planning Commission (SFPC)—the agency accused by the anti-abortion Population Research Institute of coercive practices.
The Senate version (S 2779) earmarks $50 million for UNFPA and similarly prohibits funding to any organizations directly participating in coercive family planning strategies.
The House and Senate bills have been placed on the Union and Legislative Calendars, respectively.
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. . . .