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Friday, June 22, 2007

small victories

It's always nice to usher in the weekend with some good news.

And, there was a significant victory in the world of politics this week. The House of Representatives voted yesterday to ease up on some of the ideologically based global funding restrictions that have contributed to the failure of international HIV prevention and family planning programs.

Victory #1) HIV Prevention: This allows the president (well we can dream!) the right to remove the provision that 1/3 of HIV prevention funding go to programs preaching abstinence-only rhetoric. Apparently, the house came to realize that much like democracy, abstinence-only-education may not be our most successful export.

Victory #2) Family Planning: Coincidentally, the provision that this challenges, The Global Gag Rule, was proposed in Mexico City in 1984. This is a coincidence why? you ask. Well, dear readers, the coincidence is this: Mexico City just passed a law decriminalizing early term abortions. Hmm, what a wonderful time to strike down this silly moralistic clause that restricts reproductive funding to family planning NGO's that provide abortions, abortion counseling, or offer information about abortion. The outcome of this restriction is not so silly. As more NGO's are refused funding, less contraceptive options are available to women, resulting in more unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions.

We need to keep the pressure on our senators and local politicians cause the battle has just begun.

I'll leave you with this quote from Serra Sippel, Executive Director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE):
We take it as our mandate at CHANGE to ensure that U.S. policies promote the health and rights of women abroad. We of course view this bill as a victory, but must keep up the momentum of our work in order to ensure that these provision make it into law.
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