Health for Morality

US ties AIDS prevention to religious morality

23rd January

Abstinence from Funding Nutters...

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Looking to end funding for abstinence sex education

With the exit of the Bush administration, critics of abstinence-only sex education will be making an aggressive push to cut off federal funding for what they consider an ineffective, sometimes harmful program.

Barack Obama is considered an advocate of comprehensive sex education, which, unlike abstinence-only curriculum, includes advice to young people about using contraceptives if they do engage in sexual activity. However, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to elaborate on what the new president would propose in his own budget plan.

Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of American, depicted the federal abstinence-only program as an utter failure that has wasted more than $1.5 billion over the past decade. Like other critics, she noted that several major studies -- including a federally funded review -- have found no evidence that the abstinence-only approach works in deterring teen sex. 

Even after Democrats took control of Congress in the 2006 elections, liberals lacked the votes to end abstinence-only funding, and President George W. Bush stuck by his strong support for it.

But Rep. Louise Slaughter said the 2008 elections not only put Obama in the White House, but also increased the ranks of senators and representatives who share her opposition to funding abstinence education: We believe the amount of money that goes into it would be so much better used on things to prevent unwanted pregnancies. I think we'll have enough votes to deal with it.

Slaughter is a lead sponsor of the Prevention First Act, introduced this month in the House and Senate, that proposes multiple initiatives to reduce unintended pregnancies. One component calls for promoting "medically accurate" comprehensive sex education.

Supporters of abstinence education acknowledge the shift of political power in Washington, but they have appealed to Obama to preserve some federal funding for their programs.

However, Slaughter said she would oppose any effort to fund both approach: We can't have both, because abstinence-only doesn't work.

About half the states currently receive federal abstinence funding.


26th January

Update: A Healthier World...

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Obama opens up US AIDS prevention funding to those need it

Barack Obama has made good on his promise to lift the heinous global gag rule that George Bush had imposed on his own first day in office.

The global gag rule deprived many overseas health clinics of crucial U.S. funding because they provided reproductive services or engaged in health care advocacy that the Bush Administration and its rabid rightwing base objected to.

As a result, these clinics—which serve as a lifeline to impoverished women all over the Third World—had to cut their services, see fewer patients, or close down.

Today, President Obama has taken a tremendous step in righting the wrongs perpetrated against women around the world by the Bush Administration, said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. Unsafe abortion kills nearly 70,000 women around the world each year. The gag rule prevented women’s health organizations that received U.S. funds from advocacy against restrictive laws that lead to these deaths.

The Center for Reproductive Rights added that the global gag rule had a devastating impact on health care providers and women in nearly sixty countries.

It hailed Obama’s decision, which he made by executive order, as a victory for providers and nongovernmental organizations and for the advancement of free speech and civil engagement.

But the Vatican is not so impressed

Based on article from

The Vatican has predictably condemned President Obama's move to restore US funding for family planning clinics abroad that give advice on or carry out abortions.

One Vatican official warned against the arrogance of those in power who think they can decide between life and death. Another official said it dealt a blow to groups fighting against the slaughter of the innocents.

In an interview published in an Italian newspaper, senior Vatican official Monsignor Rino Fisichella urged Obama to listen to all voices in America without the arrogance of those who, being in power, believe they can decide of life and death. If this is one of President Obama's first acts, I have to say, in all due respect, that we're heading quickly toward disappointment.


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