Abortion Politics Affecting Federal AIDS Funding, Conference Support, Washington Post Editorial Says
Since President Bush took office in January 2001, he has "delighted his right-wing base by attaching antiabortion conditions to foreign assistance," withdrawing aid from groups that perform abortions as well as those that associate with such groups -- a move that would be "unconstitutional" in the United States on "free speech grounds," a Washington Post editorial says. For example, the Bush administration did not renew a grant to Marie Stopes International for HIV/AIDS work among refugees because the group also worked with the United Nations Population Fund, which has "long been a target of Mr. Bush's right-wing supporters," the Post says. The administration also "will be doing less" than in the past to support the upcoming XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok because Bush's conservative supporters "object that AIDS prevention strategies based on condoms will receive more emphasis [at the conference] than ones based on abstinence," the editorial says. Although "the right balance between abstinence and contraception is a fair subject for debate, ... the attempt to deny conference platforms to groups that oppose the administration's view is inimical both to free speech and to scientific inquiry," the editorial concludes (Washington Post, 6/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.