State Dept. Cuts International HIV/AIDS Program Funding
In a now familiar move, the US State Department yesterday said it would halt government funding for an HIV/AIDS program serving African and Asian refugees. Despite admitting there was no evidence linking the family planning and abortion services group Marie Stopes International (MSI) with forced abortions and sterilizations in China, State Department officials insisted the organization's collaboration with the Chinese government and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was sufficient reason for the move.
This latest incident is yet another reminder of the administration's intimate ties with staunchly conservative groups. In April, the anti-abortion organization Population Research Institute (PRI)-founded by Human Life International, which aligns itself with the Roman Catholic Church-targeted MSI in its newsletter, accusing the group of undermining the global gag rule.
In July 2002, President Bush cut $34 million in funds for the UNFPA, insisting that the UN organization "knowingly supported or participated in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization in China." Bush's decision-which defied even the advice of his own fact-finding investigative team-was made based on unsubstantiated claims that originated from PRI.
Remaining members of the seven-group Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium (International Rescue Committee, CARE, American Refugee Committee, Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, John Snow International, and Columbia University's Department of Population and Family Health), which operates the affected HIV/AIDS program, were granted $1 million in government funding for the first project year. The State Department offered continued support on the condition that members sever ties with MSI. The consortium refused the money and said it would not be strong-armed with "baseless allegations," New York Times reported.
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. . . .