‘Health, Not Political Ideology’ Should Be Basis for Distribution of Funds Under President Bush’s AIDS Initiative, Detroit Free Press Says
The Bush administration "should let world health, not political ideology, drive the discussion" over the distribution of money to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean, a Detroit Free Press editorial states (Detroit Free Press, 2/26). Earlier this month, a senior Bush administration official wrote in a memo to the State Department that groups that provide abortion services would have to administer AIDS programs separately from family planning services in order to receive funds from President Bush's AIDS initiative, under which he has pledged to provide $10 billion in new money over five years to fight HIV/AIDS internationally (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/18). "At first blush, and with White House spin, [the announcement] appeared to be a relaxation of the dreaded global gag rule that prohibits any U.S. family planning dollars from going to an agency that performs, counsels or talks about abortion," the Free Press states. However, the editorial says that "practical application suggest[s] instead that the gag rule policy is expanding," adding, "In the case of AIDS, that's deadly." The editorial says that the policy would make it unclear whether a patient would have to see two separate health care workers for family planning and AIDS counseling. "Must clinics make clear that some condoms are for family planning and others are for AIDS prevention?" the Free Press asks. The editorial concludes, "The AIDS fight should get medicine and information to the disparate people of Africa. That's why ... Bush's State of the Union pledge was so roundly hailed. It shouldn't now be tainted, nor progress set back, by Right to Life's domestic agenda" (Detroit Free Press, 2/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.