Nonprofit Sues US Government for Basing Grants on Opposition to Prostitution
DKT International, a nonprofit organization that works to prevent HIV/AIDS worldwide, has sued the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for its retraction of a grant when DKT refused to sign a pledge opposing sex work. In June, DKT applied for a $60,000 subgrant to market condom lubricants in Vietnam. The grant was initially approved, but rescinded when DKT refused to sign the pledge.
DKT alleges that the policy violates its First Amendment right to free speech. Founder Philip Harvey told the Wall Street Journal "The government cannot tell us what policies to have." Jodi Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, submitted a statement in support of the lawsuit, pointing out the dilemma health groups face in being forced to condemn sex work to receive US funding, while also attempting to gain the trust of prostitutes and clients in order to build effective HIV prevention programs. “These policies run contrary to best practices in public health and will undermine efforts to stem the spread of HIV and human trafficking,” she wrote. DKT has asked the court to prevent USAID’s withdrawal of funds, pending a ruling in the case.
This suit is the latest battle over the strings attached to US foreign aid. In May, Brazil declined $40 million in aid rather than sign the anti-prostitution pledge.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily News 5/6/05; Kaiser Network 8/12/05; Wall Street Journal 8/12/05; CHANGE statement 8/9/05
11/21/2014 Fifth Circuit Court Refuses to Reconsider Ruling Blocking Mississippi TRAP Law - The full US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Thursday refused to reconsider a panel decision blocking enforcement of a Mississippi law that threatened to close the last remaining abortion clinic in the state.
In July, a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction against a Mississippi TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals. . . .