Washington Times Publishes Opinion Pieces on Government Withdrawl of Funding From GHC Conference
The Bush administration this week announced it is withdrawing its support of the Global Health Council's "Youth and Health: Generation on the Edge" conference, which is expected to include representatives of several reproductive health and AIDS advocacy groups. HHS has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the conference over the past few years and had planned to contribute $170,000 to this year's conference, which is scheduled for June 1-4 in Washington, D.C., HHS spokesperson Bill Pierce said. USAID so far had committed about $190,000 to the conference, according to a government source. Pierce said the administration was withdrawing funding due to concerns that the money would be used for the conference's scheduled "Advocacy Day," during which participants can go to Capitol Hill to lobby Senate and congressional offices (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/27). The Washington Times published an editorial and letter to the editor on the decision. Summaries of the articles appear below:
Washington Times: HHS' original decision to support a conference involving groups whose positions are "contrary to those held by the White House" represents a "new politicization" of the agency, a Times editorial says. The groups scheduled to attend the "pro-abortion population control conference" -- including the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the United Nations Population Fund, the Alan Guttmacher Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- are "expressly opposed to the Bush administration's agenda on sexual health issues" and are "strange bedfellows" for HHS, the editorial says, concluding, "This type of cowboy politicking represents everything that is bad about bureaucracies that run out of control" (Washington Times, 4/23).
- Nils Daulaire, Washington Times: The Times editorial's portrayal of the conference as political is "just plain wrong and patently misrepresents the nature of the conference, its topic and its participants," GHC President and CEO Nils Daulaire writes in a Times letter to the editor. The GHC conference is not, as the editorial says, a "pro-abortion population control conference" but a conference focusing on "key global health issues" which this year will examine the important issue of youth and health, Daulaire says. The federal government "plays a vital role in global health," and for the past three decades the government has supported GHC's annual conferences "to assure participation of practitioners in exchanging knowledge and experience," Daulaire says. "Improved health for one billion young people around the world is too important to turn into a political kickball," Daulaire says, concluding, "There are other forums for partisanship, and [GHC] will not engage in this" (Daulaire, Washington Times, 4/28).