Family Planning, U.S. Foreign Assistance

“Hello Pot, this is the Kettle.”

Craig Lasher is PAI’s Senior Policy Analyst.

The lead from Michael Gerson’s column in today’s Washington Post on Tony Blair’s newfound faith references the Global Gag Rule:

The American kickoff of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation last week unintentionally revealed the mountain of misunderstanding the former British prime minister has undertaken to scale. At an event designed to further mutual religious sympathy, two of the panelists — including the president of Yale University, Richard Levin — casually asserted that religious Americans who support pro-life restrictions on international family planning aid are as doctrinaire and exclusionary as Saudi extremists. Pro-life Catholics and evangelicals? Wahhabi extremists? What’s the difference?

This hollow complaint is from the President Bush’s former chief speech
writer, who equated those who would advocate for providing
contraception to HIV-positive women — those who wish to avoid
pregnancy and spreading HIV to their babies — with those who would use
abortion to prevent cleft lip, clubfoot, and bed-wetting and “‘solve’
the problems of poverty and disease by eliminating the poor and sick”
in his March 12th column “The AIDS Relief Miracle”

few liberal global health advocates want to revisit the abortion issue
in PEPFAR on the theory that aggressive family planning is necessary to
AIDS prevention. It is true that abortion prevents the transmission of
AIDS — as it prevents the transmission of cleft lip and clubfoot and
bed-wetting. It is a miracle treatment — except for the fact that the
patient dies. It is always possible to “solve” the problems of poverty
and disease by eliminating the poor and sick — but it is hardly a
consensus approach to development.

For evidence-based information on the benefits of integrating HIV and family planning services, please see PAI’s fact sheet.

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