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.
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. . . .