Sunday, February 22, 2004

Know Bush Fact #9

Based on the belief that the truth shall set you free:

On Monday, January 22, 2001, Bush's first action, on his first working day in office, was to issue an executive memorandum banning U.S. federal funding for any international organization family-planning clinic that mentions -- not performs but mentions -- the word abortion.

This action prohibited recipients of federal funds from providing abortion counseling or information regarding the availability of abortions, even in countries where abortions are legal, and even when abortion services are paid for by non-U.S. funds.

Clinics in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa had to close, leaving women without any health care, leading to a further spread of AIDS, and causing even more abortions because of more unwanted pregnancies.

The following year, in January 2002, he eliminated U.S. funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) under the pretense that the program may fund or advocate abortion.

In fact, the UNFPA prevented abortions and saved lives by providing family planning services in 156 countries, as well as HIV and sexual violence prevention, maternal care, emergency disaster relief, and teaching women literacy and income-earning skills. UN officials estimated the loss of funding from the U.S. would undermine their ability to prevent 800,000 abortions and could result in the deaths of 4,700 women and 77,000 children.

This international funding issue had not come up during his campaign. It came as a complete surprise.

To verify this information, Google "global gag rule +January +Bush".

- February 22, 2004

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