State Department Withholds Funding for World Health Organization
The State Department recently decided to freeze $3 million in funding appropriated by Congress for the World Health Organization’s research on mifepristone (also known as RU-486 and the “abortion pill”). Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), along with eight other members of the House of Representatives, sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell last week to express their concerns that the State Department is using an overly broad interpretation of a 1985 law to justify withholding US funding from international organizations.
The law, commonly referred to as Kemp-Kasten, prohibits US funds from being used to finance or support abortions abroad, according to Common Dreams. In recent months, a broad interpretation of this law was used to withhold $34 million appropriated by Congress for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) because of its work in China, despite the fact that the Bush Administration’s own handpicked team of investigators found no evidence that the UNFPA supported any coercive abortion or sterilization programs. In fact, funding for the UNFPA from the US is always prohibited from being used on UNFPA programs in China.
Maloney and the other House members express their concern in their letter to Powell that using the same overly broad interpretation of the law, funding for other international programs that work with Chinese health ministry and family planning programs could also be in jeopardy, including $120 million to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), $108.1 million for the World Health organization, and $792.4 million for the World Bank. “We want to know that the Administration is not jeopardizing UNICEF, WHO and other important UN programs because of a small group of anti-choice zealots,” said Maloney in a statement released by her office. “The Administration’s overly broad interpretation of Kemp-Kasten could cripple more reputable UN programs that provide life-saving services to women and children around the world.”
This recent move by the State Department follows threats by the Bush Administration to back out of a landmark 1994 population policy if the terms “reproductive rights” and “reproductive health services” were not removed from the language of the agreement. The Cairo program shifted the world’s approach to reducing rapid population growth away from coercive, numbers-based programs to voluntary family planning programs that at their core were about empowering women to make choices and have control over their lives. Bush’s threat was met with immediate criticism from several countries facing the most rapid population growth in the world, including India and China.
4/15/2014 Virginia Bishops Advocate More Abortion Restrictions for Poor Women - Using the Medicaid expansion debate as a platform, the Virginia Catholic Conference issued a statement Friday calling for the repeal of a Virginia law that allows state funding of abortion care for Medicaid recipients in situations where the fetus exhibits a "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity" or a "gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency."
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington authored the statement which urges Virginia lawmakers to act to expand Medicaid to cover more of Virginia's poor. . . .
4/14/2014 Kathleen Sebelius Resigns as Secretary of Health & Human Services - President Barack Obama last week announced the resignation of Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius.
Noting that she will "go down in history" for "serving as the Secretary of Health and Human Services when the United States of America finally declared that quality, affordable health care is not a privilege, but it is a right for every single citizen of these United States of America," President Obama praised Secretary Sebelius for guiding the implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA).
At least 7.5 million Americans have now signed up for health coverage through health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. . . .