Leading NGOs Criticize Bush's Harmful International Women's Health Policies
At a recent conference in London, leading reproductive health and family planning organizations sharply criticized the Bush administration's current policies for contributing to the AIDS epidemic, thousands of unwanted pregnancies, and the deaths of women during childbirth and from unsafe abortion. According to the Associated Press, representatives at the Countdown 2015 conference also attacked the Administration’s promotion of abstinence only programs to prevent HIV/AIDS and the blockage of funding for three years for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Over 700 representatives from 109 countries assessed the progress towards goals set during the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, Egypt, reports the LA Times. The Cairo conference called on governments to provide $17 billion a year by 2000, however only $9.6 billion was spent in 2001.
Tim Wirth, the President of the United Nations Foundation, asserted “as the US attacks the efficacy of condoms, as the US refused to put its shoulder behind making sure that women have the ability to protect themselves, it is becoming responsible in effect for the deaths of tens of thousands, in fact of millions, of women.” For example, while an overwhelming majority (74-84%) of couples in industrialized countries use modern forms of birth control, only 10% of couples in sub-Saharan Africa use birth control, reports the Associated Press.
On his first day in office, 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. Even though President Bush sent his own handpicked investigative team that found no evidence to back PRI's claim, he has blocked desperately needed funding for the UNFPA for three years.
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. . . .