Opposing Contraceptives: AIDS, Abortion and Murder

The Republicans puffed out their chests, George Bush grunted, and the Democrats whined and rolled around in his offal.

The Global Gag Rule remains in place (Ann, Feministing):

Citing Bush’s guaranteed veto, Democrats stripped out language repealing the Global Gag Rule from a spending bill recently passed by the House Appropriations Committee. We all know Bush hates women — especially poor women — and would have vetoed the bill, but it’s incredibly frustrating that Democrats preempted him.

This is a stunning defeat for world health. The Republicans feel itchy about providing funds to family planning clinics (they might be used for abortions!). So the compromise that died before it lived would have simply provided contraceptives directly:

The Senate is set to vote today on a bill that would provide contraceptives directly to international family planning clinics that have been denied funds under the Global Gag Rule. The bill, which passed the House in June, is a way to work around Republicans’ objection that U.S. international family-planning funds could be used for abortions. (Sen. Sam Brownback has threatened to tack on an amendment stripping out the provision on contraceptives.)

This is a direct trade: the failed abstinence only approach over the use of contraceptives. The impact is clear:

Too bad, because in addition to the many other excellent reasons to broaden contraceptive access in the developing world, new research shows birth control works better than antiretroviral drugs at curbing the spread of HIV in Africa.

But I suppose it’s futile to even point these things out. Bush cares way more about pushing the abstinence agenda than the fact that women are dying.

This makes me sick in the pit of my stomach. There is no, no reason to oppose contraceptives other than the religious conviction that sex is sinful in nature. We aren’t even talking morning after pills. Condoms. Who in their right mind opposes the use of condoms? And because Bush and the Republicans directly (and the Democrats indirectly) cater to the fundamentalists, more people will die. There will be more AIDS orphans. There will be be more economic instability. All because the whiny voice proclaiming sex vile is easier for our government to hear than the screams coming from Africa. Whatever you call the ideology that wrought this, you cannot call it pro life.

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