Saturday, September 23, 2006

George W. Bush

When George W. Bush won the presidential elections the second time around, I, like many of his supporters were extremely happy and relieved. For I truly believed that as the President of the United States and as a world leader, his policies were based on principles that safeguarded humanity irrespective of one’s race, religion, or beliefs, and that we and our families were safe as long as we had a world leader such as President Bush. I admired the President for the way he expressed himself with calmness and the fact that he was a Born-Again Christian, but I had very little knowledge of his policies. After the bombing of Iraq where so many human lives were lost, and after reading numerous books and magazines, which featured the President and his policies, I was horrified and ashamed.

Horrified to find out that some of his policies were unethical and ashamed for my ignorance about them.

Here's what I compiled together from the World Watch issue of March/April 2004, “Ladies, you Have No Choice” by Dan Hinrichsen.

“From the day Bush first sat down in the Oval Office, his decisions in the areas of family planning and population appear to have been guided solely by ideology, with little interest in what is actually happening in developing countries.”

“Here are a few of the actions taken by George W. Bush to reverse U.S. progress in family planning and population.”

Ø Prior to inauguration, selected an anti-choice zealot, John Ashcroft, to be attorney general-providing an early signal of his intention to have the U.S. government decide how women’s bodies are to be used rather than allowing women to make their own choices.

Ø On his first day in office, restored the Reagan-era “gag rule” – withdrawing U.S funding for international family planning.

Ø Three months later, closed the White House Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach.

Ø In his first budget, stripped contraceptive coverage for federal employees.

Ø Began campaign to pack federal courts with judges zealously opposed to birth control and women’s choice.

Ø Selected Patricia Funderburk Ware, an advocate of “abstinence only” education, to lead the Presidential advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

Ø Joined with nations practicing extreme suppression of women (basically the “Evil Axis” nations Iraq, Iran, plus Syria, Libya and Sudan) to block UN consensus on sexuality education.

Ø Announced new rules making fetuses eligible for prenatal care-but providing no coverage for pregnant women-thus elevating the fetus to “personhood” while reducing the role of the woman to mere “host” status.

Ø Appointed a Title IX commission aiming to gut the law that provided athletic programs for girls and women. Remember the 1950’s when girls did not play soccer or basketball?

Ø Withheld $34 million in funding for birth control, maternal and child health care, and HIV/AIDS prevention from the United Nations Population Fund.

Ø Rejected the U.S. participation in the women’s rights treaty (Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women), which had been ratified by 170 other nations.

Ø Rejected funding that had been provided by Congress for programs to support women’s health in Afghanistan, where maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world.

Ø Extended the global gag rule to all international family planning programs.

Ronald Green, chairman of the department of religion at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire says- The Bush Administration has made UNFPA a sacrificial lamb for the religious right in America. It’s crass election politics. These groups not only oppose abortion, they are against family planning and reproductive health in general. Their positions……have no basis in reality.

The UNFPA calculates that the loss of $34 million, about 13 percent of its total budget, is having a devastating effect on programs in some of the poorest countries in which the Fund works. In Bangladesh, where close to 70 percent of pregnant women receive no medical care before, during, or after childbirth, programs to train doctors to deal with obstetric emergencies had to be cancelled. In Kenya, where the Fund was working with the Catholic Church to prevent teenagers from contracting the HIV virus, the project had to be shelved when funds dried up. Overall, UNFPA estimates that the loss of U.S funding will result in 2 million unwanted pregnancies, 800,000 abortions, and more than 81,000 deaths.

Stirling Scruggs reflects- it is sad when one considers that the U.S. was the prime mover in creating UNFPA during the Nixon administration. UNFPA has become just what the U.S. envisioned; the worlds premiere reproductive health and rights organization. But now, that reputation is in jeopardy-not because of misdeeds, but because of misinformation.

To IPPF’s Steve Sinding, UNFPA’s Scruggs, and others who have toiled on the front lines of development, these cutbacks in funding from the world’s richest country are not just numbers, but human faces-like that of the 25-year old woman in the Philippines who died from hemorrhage on her way to a hospital 20 kilometers away because the local clinic didn’t have the training or equipment to stop her from bleeding to death after giving birth to her sixth child in seven years; or the 20 year old college student in Botswana who died from AIDS for lack of a condom; or the adolescent girl from Ethiopia who, forced to give birth at the tender age of 13, ended up suffering from fistula-a condition in which a woman’s rectum, urethra, and vagina are torn apart during childbirth, leaving her incontinent and causing bodily wastes to seep through her vaginal canal and down her legs.

Steve Sinding – We are dealing with real people and their unmet needs, not statistics. These acts are a testament to the Bush administration’s war against women and his overall contempt for their fundamental civil and human rights.”



Blogger Haren said...

I have not verified any of these facts, and didn't like it about the speach that it generates a sentiment that is best described as "hate" which i think it shouldn't - but i don't actually blame the writer for it. but these videos should be at least "interesting"

8:30 AM  

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