Members of Congress Ask Administration to Explain UNFPA Funding Cut
Four Democratic members of Congress sent a letter on Friday to US Secretary of State Colin Powell demanding an explanation of the Administration's denial of funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Earlier this month, eight Senators wrote a letter to President Bush urging him to carefully consider “new facts and developments that reinforce the case for US funding for the United Nations Population Fund” and to “undertake a thoughtful and thorough review of this long-standing issue” before determining whether to deny the UNFPA funding.
The letter to Powell also asked for an explanation of the threats to de-fund the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). According to Kaiser, at a meeting earlier this month the administration stated that it would no longer be able to provide financial support to UNICEF because of its belief that UNCIEF would not be able to keep its funds separate from UNFPA’s funds. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-CA), one of the signatories of the letter to Powell, said, “At a time when we need the UN more than ever, the will of the right wing is getting in the way. In its continued War on Women, the Bush Administration is doing the right wing’s bidding – telling WHO and UNICEF whom they can meet with, whom they can include on a panel and whom they can talk to, all at risk of losing funding.”
President Bush officially withheld $34 million in funds for the UNFPA in 2002 based on unsubstantiated claims by the right-wing group Population Research International (PRI) that the UNFPA supports forced abortions in China. Despite the fact that Bush's own handpicked investigative team found no evidence to back PRI's claim, Bush still would not release the funds to the UNFPA, which provides crucial family planning and health services to women in many developing countries. President Bush has until July 15 to decide whether the UNFPA is in violation of the Kemp-Kasten amendment, which prohibits the US from funding agencies that are involved in coerced abortion or sterilization, reports the New York Times.
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. . . .