The Senate on Thursday approved an omnibus spending bill that included $34 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The House approved this bill (HR 2673), including the UNFPA funding, in December. UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Obaid thanked the US Congress, saying, "This critical funding will help save women's lives around the world, through the provision of voluntary family planning and reproductive health care." Obaid urged President Bush to allow these appropriated funds to be released so that the US "can rejoin all other industrialized countries in supporting UNFPA's work to promote voluntary family planning, safe motherhood, and HIV/AIDS prevention in the world's poorest countries."
The Bush Administration has refused to release UNFPA funding for the past two years based on false charges by the right-wing Population Research Institute that UNFPA supports coercive abortion in China. Bush cut funding to the UNFPA despite the fact that the Administration's own fact-finding team that found no evidence that the UN organization "has knowingly supported or participated in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization in China."
The Administration has not yet announced whether it will withhold the UNFPA funding again this year, according to the Inter Press Service. However, Bush has said he will sign the spending bill, the LA Times reports.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .