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Politicizing the AIDS crisis
February 17, 2003 10:43 AM   Subscribe

Bush's pledge to fight AIDS in Africa comes with some strings attached, it turns out. Bush is limiting the funds that clinics which perform abortions can receive. Is it moral to politicize an epidemic?
posted by hipnerd (93 comments total)

 
Nope.
posted by blamb at 10:48 AM on February 17, 2003


Perhaps I trolled a bit with my word choice. I wasn't tryng to. Replace "moral" with "ethical." I think that's a slightly less loaded word.
posted by hipnerd at 10:52 AM on February 17, 2003


well, it's not like he's going after condoms or something
posted by delmoi at 10:56 AM on February 17, 2003


It sure is not nice, but the person with the money always sets the terms. For my part I do not think it is moral or ethical to take money away from me, and spend it outside the US, so this is not making me very happy no matter what.
posted by thirteen at 11:03 AM on February 17, 2003


Is it moral [ethical] to politicize an epidemic?

There's no free lunch, you know. Why should Bush alter his beliefs when he's donating (i.e. giving away) money? Why is the Lumpenproletariat of the world so whiny? The more you give them, the more conditions they impose. The AIDS lobby seems particularly annoying in their perpetual, ever-increasing demands .
posted by 111 at 11:04 AM on February 17, 2003


It sure is not nice, but the person with the money always sets the terms.

Why should Bush alter his beliefs when he's donating (i.e. giving away) money?

It's not his money. It's ours.

Is it moral to politicize an epidemic?

Is it moral to politicize mefi?
posted by goethean at 11:06 AM on February 17, 2003


The AIDS lobby seems particularly annoying in their perpetual, ever-increasing demands.

Yeah, them and that damn kid asking for more soup.
posted by goethean at 11:08 AM on February 17, 2003


This might cause a bit of concern here in South Africa. While the church groups in South Africa might not be pro-Abortion they are some of the leading figures in the struggle for affordable access to AIDS treatment.

Just this past Friday I attended the Treatment Action Campaigns march to Parliament to demand that govt begin making treatment accessible Leading the march was the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Winston
Njongonkulu Ndungane. Before the speech he gave the govt a verbal ass kicking about their lack of effort in combating AIDS.

This might put him in a tough position...
posted by PenDevil at 11:14 AM on February 17, 2003


The AIDS lobby seems particularly annoying in their perpetual, ever-increasing demands.

Ya, you whiney AIDS people, go die off in a corner somewhere and leave 111 alone. And take your mess with you!
posted by madamjujujive at 11:18 AM on February 17, 2003


Is it moral to politicize an epidemic?

Eh. If Bush really believes that fetuses are people, then it logically follows that he shouldn't give funding to clinics which perform abortions as part of an AIDS package to save African lives - to him, the unborn African babies are lives to be saved too.

Not that I'm expecting Bush to be logically consistent or anything.
posted by eustacescrubb at 11:21 AM on February 17, 2003


What does it matter if it is not going to groups that preform abortions. This money is going over there to prevent and treat AIDS, not to pay for abortions.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:26 AM on February 17, 2003


Why should he support hypocrites? Why give money to save lives to people who are killing? He made a good decision.
posted by Sonserae at 11:30 AM on February 17, 2003


It's not his money. It's ours.
Yeah, but he is the one who gets to spend it. If that were not true, he would not have mine to spend like that at all.
posted by thirteen at 11:33 AM on February 17, 2003


It sure is not nice, but the person with the money always sets the terms. For my part I do not think it is moral or ethical to take money away from me, and spend it outside the US, so this is not making me very happy no matter what.

The fact that "the person with the money always sets the terms" is irrelevant to the ethics question. It is true that if I have five dollars, and you, dying of hunger, ask me for a dollar, it is my decision whether or not I will give it to you or under what conditions.

But whether or not a condition I impose ("you must buy only vegetables with this dollar, and not spend it at a store that sells meat!") is ethical is a different question. What if, for example, it is practically difficult for you to buy vegetables at a meat free store?

As to your overall objection, I presume that means that all foreign or overseas aid is equally objectionable or worthless in your eyes, and that ethics need not motivate us to spend our resources on suffering and death that takes place outside of our political borders.

That seems like a strange place to limit our moral response, but even if you would prefer that U.S. resources only go to U.S. problems, you might think about the fact that the massive epidemics have a way of becoming world problems that don't respect political borders. You might scorn the silly altruism in saving some suffering Africans, but surely this is a problem that stands a good chance of more practically affecting even the most isolationist American taxpayer.

Back to the overall question: the fundamental problem I have with this is that by imposing a rigid anti-abortion filter on where the funds go, Bush is putting right-wing domestic political interests over the practical need to get funds to clinics, and demonstrating his lack of commitment to wholeheartedly addressing the crisis.
posted by BT at 11:33 AM on February 17, 2003


This money is going over there to prevent and treat AIDS, not to pay for abortions.

The clinics that will be treating AIDS patients are the same clinics that take care of just about everything else in many of these places. So while the money has nothing to do with funding or not funding abortions themselves, if clinics want to recieve the money, they'll need to stop providing abortions.
posted by 4easypayments at 11:34 AM on February 17, 2003


It's better than nothing, and more than I would send if I was in his place.
posted by mischief at 11:38 AM on February 17, 2003


my guess is in many african villages there is only one clinic - so he is de facto saying... if abortions (or condoms, or family planning info) are available - then NO funding. the anti-condom stance of the administration is unbelievable and infuriating.
posted by specialk420 at 11:40 AM on February 17, 2003


Hey 111. Suck it.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:51 AM on February 17, 2003


BT: I have a hard time thinking Bush has considered whether his decision was moral or ethical, any more than he considered the ethics of redistributing tax dollars out of the country. The question was framed regarding ethics, but in effect is completely amoral.

Re: Altruism and whatnot. I think you are taking some liberty with the way you are phrasing my position. Pepper what you believe I feel with scorn and silly change it more than I ever would. I regard it as simple right and wrong, and I think it is wrong to spend other people's money in this way. I make charitable contributions as an individual, it has no place in an fair government. We live in a country. A country is not capable of a moral response. Only the people who live there are, and if they are spending their unwilling neighbors money, they are not really being very moral no matter how worthy the goal is.
posted by thirteen at 11:52 AM on February 17, 2003


Actually, the plan does call for spending on distribution of condoms. No word on the change of viewpoint. I can't wait to see the spending breakdown however, as it's about 300 times more expensive to treat the disease than to prevent it.

Pharmaceutical company donations to Republicans in 2002: $6,096,488
Pharmaceutical company donations to Democrats in 2002: $18,823,882

posted by machaus at 11:53 AM on February 17, 2003


Pepper what you believe I feel with scorn and silly
Peppering what you believe I feel with words like "scorn" and "silly".

Dang.
posted by thirteen at 11:54 AM on February 17, 2003


fuck, I flipped those numbers
posted by machaus at 11:58 AM on February 17, 2003


Bush has no intention of actually sending this money to Africa. With a war going on, and the economy in the shitter, there's no way congress will approve this plan. Putting these restrictions on the plan allows Bush to tell his right-wing religious friends "Look! I'm stopping abortion around the world!", his left-wing opponents "Look! I'm stopping abortion around the world!" without actually doing either.

If anything, these restrictions will help kill a program that Bush doesn't really support anyway.
posted by jpoulos at 12:04 PM on February 17, 2003


er...change the second "abortion" above to "AIDS".
posted by jpoulos at 12:05 PM on February 17, 2003


Remember, Bush is the same guy who gave $450,000 to the Moonies for Free Teens USA, a public high school program which teaches that sex is like spitting into a cup. Fringe-right crackpots have his ear. We're talking way beyond Pat Robertson.
posted by inksyndicate at 12:12 PM on February 17, 2003


I dont understand this "Bush giving money" thing.Abortions have been legal for many years in America, so why does he impose his views when it is not his money to give nor his right to set the terms. Butthen Congress sits on its ass and says little or nothing so he is able to get away with this.
posted by Postroad at 12:20 PM on February 17, 2003


What BT and jpoulos said. I think Bush is just playing a political game and is completely disengaged from the suffering of AIDS victims, be them African or US citizens. The State of the Union address was built to sell the war with Iraq, the little shiny monkeys of hydrogen cars and assistance for Africa were not meant to be serious, the issues were only selected the give Bush the appearance of compassion. Has Bush done anything he's promised (other then the tax cuts for the wealthy?)
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:22 PM on February 17, 2003


This link is about a year old but I think it has some relevance to this topic.
Why is baby rape endemic in South Africa? It is fueled by a bizarre belief among many African black men that sex with a virgin – even a child or baby – can cure HIV/AIDS.
posted by lsd4all at 12:41 PM on February 17, 2003


smoke and mirrors folks...these aren't the droids you're looking for.

I am now impressed with Bush's two money spending plans he announced in the State of the Union meant to appease the middle.

$18 Billion to treat those poor AIDS stricken Africans. This on top of Budget cuts, Tax Cuts and a War. Oh an there'll be lots of stipulations on how these poor Africans spend the money. No abortions and no condoms...but lots of AZT.

$1.2 billion to build us all some hydrogen powered cars. Never mind that GM alone spends $500 million a year for just that purpose or that it cost Ford $2 billion to come up with the last Taurus with no fancy new technology whatsoever.

In a time of budget cuts, huge deficits, proposed tax cuts and a looming war I'd be amazed if these carrots make it through congress at all.

Sure sounded nice on tha' TeeVee though...
posted by aaronscool at 12:47 PM on February 17, 2003


Worst.President.Ever
posted by Fupped Duck at 12:48 PM on February 17, 2003


bush use aids and aids victims worldwide for politcal gain and further his conservative agenda? nah.

bush use sept 11th, sept 11th victims for political gain and further his conservative agenda? nah.
posted by specialk420 at 12:52 PM on February 17, 2003


lsd4all: that article has little or nothing to do with this topic, but thanks for playing. We have some lovely parting gifts for you.

I think the broader issue here is America's exercise of cultural imperialism - today, aid is contingent upon abortions, but what's next? Aid being contingent on the recipient being a capitalist? Or a Christian?

Africa is such a huge, multi-faceted mess that making aid contingent upon anything but need is asinine. If you're going to put conditions on it, making the gesture at all is hypocrisy. And as someone else pointed out, our own economy is in the dumper - we should worry about that before we worry about this.
posted by RylandDotNet at 1:11 PM on February 17, 2003


Abortion is murder and contraception is evil. Complain all you like, but the US government has no business taking money from me to fund such abominations. Bush knows that the price of continued support from millions of people like me is to toe the line on these issues.

By the way, there's not much support for the war among the pro-life community, in case you were wondering. Killing innocent people doesn't become any less abhorrent after they are out of the womb.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 1:21 PM on February 17, 2003


Which European country is pledging $15+ billion to help the AIDS crisis in Africa? France? What about China? Japan? Where's that morally superior Canada we hear so much about on Metafilter? What about the Middle Eastern countries?

The US is helping more than any other country and all you can do is complain. Were you complaining when Clinton was in office or are you just complaining because Bush is at the healm? What did the Clinton administration to do curb the spread of AIDS in Africa? It's only gotten worse.

I think Bush's proposal is fantastic. Let's see Congress follow through. You can't blame someone for making a proposal.
posted by fried at 1:30 PM on February 17, 2003


not to derail the thread... im wondering how bush is planning to pay for the next 3-4 wars along with his "humanitarian" programs such as AIDS funding?
posted by specialk420 at 1:42 PM on February 17, 2003


contraception is evil.

I don't understand, how is contraception evil?
posted by homunculus at 1:44 PM on February 17, 2003


Is it moral [ethical] to politicize an epidemic?

I think you're asking the wrong people, and asking about 25 years too late.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:45 PM on February 17, 2003


Abortion is murder and contraception is evil.

um...I guess you don't wanna talk about it?

Where's that morally superior Canada we hear so much about on Metafilter?

thats what I'd like to know. what are you talking about? are we not supposed to like canada now, because of all the french there or something?

anyways, is there doubt in anyone's mind that bush is shooting for fundie points? easy question, I suppose. I hope the organizations in questions will agree to his terms, and not because of the compelling argument supplied on so many pro-life bumper stickers.

What did the Clinton administration to do curb the spread of AIDS in Africa? It's only gotten worse.

or bush 1, for that matter! also, where were both of those cats when the shuttle blew up?
posted by mcsweetie at 1:47 PM on February 17, 2003


I regard it as simple right and wrong, and I think it is wrong to spend other people's money in this way. I make charitable contributions as an individual, it has no place in an fair government.

In other words, you believe that representative governments are immoral. Okay.

This naive, blustery comment and others like it are precisely the reason that the founding fathers set up our country as a representative democracy. It would be really great if each of us had the time, education, inclination and resources to study the needs of each foreign nation and determine what aid, if any, ought to be doled out from our personal coffers. I suppose we could also build our own individual roads, put out our own forest fires and police our own streets. Call me crazy, but sometimes the government actually has uses, and one of those uses is providing meaningful foreign assistance.

Where would Europe be today if we hadn't poured millions and millions of dollars into European economies to help build their infrastructure? And where would we be without Europe as a source of trade?

What's most striking about this thread is the sickening lack of compassion from some MeFiers. Millions of people are dying horrible, preventable deaths, and you're worried about--what, maybe your taxes go up by a dollar or something to pay for it? Heaven forbid that some small percentage of your hard earned money should go to save the life of a dying child. "I'm sorry, dying child. I'd love to assist you, but you see there's this abstruse ethical principal at stake and, well, you know how that goes."
posted by vraxoin at 1:55 PM on February 17, 2003


maybe your taxes go up by a dollar or something to pay for it?

Since you seem to have missed the obvious, American Federal taxes are slated to go DOWN. Given that, exactly how are we going to pay for social services, education, and health care in our own country? Hmm, maybe the thinking is that Congress will ask the same question and hand Bush an opportunity to say "Whelp, I sure tried...". Just spitballin, here...
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:07 PM on February 17, 2003


Peeping_ whatever: shhhhhhhhhh
posted by lazaruslong at 2:12 PM on February 17, 2003


In other words, you believe that representative governments are immoral. Okay.

Not exactly true, I believe that ultra-minimal government is the only form of government that has any claim on being fair. A representative democracy can be ultra-minimal, they just do not turn out that way.

I think we all have our takes on the opinions of the founders and they are all worth about the same.

The things you are claiming as achievements I think are curses. I am glad you like your roads, there are plenty of them, and they cover the whole of the continent in an ever tightening web, and we are coming upon the day when the most remote hermit in the country does not live more than half a mile from one. Great accomplishment, it sure would be bad if there were fewer of those. Of course we all pay quite a bit for them, but they make it easier for us to get around in all of our cars, which the government subsidizes to make affordable. But they do not really do that do they, that is all of our money at work again. I must have been crazy to want to control the purse strings when paradise if vomiting out of the government's mouth.

Forest fires need to burn sometimes, and the police are only doing as much harm as good on their best day. Europe would be much better off if they had rebuilt their own countries after their war. That money we gave them did not come cheap, and our current prosperity (as you said) is built on that foundation. Is it moral to profit off the suffering of others? Is it moral to tax people to give money to people so they can buy goods from the people with their own squandered money?

I would love for you to explain why foreign aid is good government, and why George Washington would have thought sending the citizen's money to africa was a good thing. Plain and simple, this is not a function of our government, and there is absolutely nothing to keep interested parties from organizing people to send aid. If you do it this way, there will be no strings attached, you would not have harmed your neighbors, and you would not justify the government's collection of funds that they can hide and use to wage the war, or cheapen the oil.

I am completely unashamed of my position.
posted by thirteen at 2:27 PM on February 17, 2003


lsd4all: that article has little or nothing to do with this topic, but thanks for playing. We have some lovely parting gifts for you.

Don't be a prick.
posted by jpoulos at 2:28 PM on February 17, 2003


Is it my imagination or does this thread have an unusually high number of complete wingnuts?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:34 PM on February 17, 2003


It's not your imagination. I had to check the URL to make sure I wasn't accidentally logged in to FARK.
posted by hipnerd at 3:03 PM on February 17, 2003


This is only distantly related to the topic, I really like the way spending/budget is such an ideological football. It so often seems that people are too willing to forgive it if "their guy" is in office and instantly quick to criticize it if "their guy" isn't in office.

Champion of Sound Spending seems to be increasingly a mantle that is claimed by the minority party.

I don't mean this as a criticism. It is just part of a growing realization about how subjective political argument tends to be and how readily people line up on one side or the other seemingly purely based on ad hominem or the like.
posted by rudyfink at 3:04 PM on February 17, 2003


thirteen - do you think that the imagined whims of our founding fathers is a good indicator of which policies we should or shouldn't implement? also, is a world power that profits, operates, and defends its own globally free from responsibility to other nations?
posted by mcsweetie at 3:14 PM on February 17, 2003


It is just part of a growing realization about how subjective political argument tends to be and how readily people line up on one side or the other seemingly purely based on ad hominem or the like.

Funny, I just don't remember any Republicans bitching about Clinton's fiscal irresponsibility. They were too concerned, (to the point of Impeachment) about where his dick had been. Of course, you're correct in that they continued to spread the lie about "tax-and-spend" Democrats, but I find them strangely silent about the don't tax-but-spend-even-more Bush policies.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:23 PM on February 17, 2003


I am glad you like your roads, there are plenty of them . . . . Forest fires need to burn sometimes, and the police are only doing as much harm as good on their best day.

(psst: the Internet was built largely with public funding. You should stop using it immediately!)
posted by vraxoin at 3:33 PM on February 17, 2003


The belief that having sex with virgins would cure sexually transmitted diseases is an old one, having been recorded in Victorian England. An upswing in venereal disease in that time and place led to increased demand for unsullied prostitutes, namely girls who had yet to have sex with anyone and thus could be assumed to be clean.
Source: http://snopes.com/ - search for 'Rape of Innocents'.


Cut the racist crap
, this is off-topic but needs to be challenged. The ignorance of rapists and bigots can only be ameliorated by education. You'd do better to read more widely and forget the WorldNetDaily to get your education.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:49 PM on February 17, 2003


contraception is evil.

Thanks. I needed a good laugh today.
posted by botono9 at 3:53 PM on February 17, 2003


Thirteen, like most fanatical libertarians (not much different from comminists in their obsessions), you can't seem to see the forest for the trees. AIDS doesn't respect national boundaries, so why should funding to help prevent it?
posted by Jimbob at 3:57 PM on February 17, 2003


You people are weird...
posted by i_cola at 4:05 PM on February 17, 2003


Well said, botono9; notice how he doesn't say "I think contraception is evil" - he just says "Contraception is evil". Black and white morals. Absolute, unshakable beliefs. He know's he couldn't possibly be wrong. It certainly shows what a critical thinker peeping_Thomas is, doesn't it?
posted by Jimbob at 4:15 PM on February 17, 2003


Jesus marimba, did you bother to read the links that start this thread?

AIDS doesn't respect national boundaries, so why should funding to help prevent it?

This isn't about money to PREVENT the spread of AIDS, its about money for pharmaceuticals to treat those already infected and those already orphaned, weighted by Bush's anti-abortion stance.

CrimanyJeeFuckinWillickers, I think Mefi has finally managed to out-dumb FARK.

To receive the money, they would have to administer AIDS programs separately from family planning, the official said.

What part of that do you find incomprehensible, libertarian, or "comminist"?
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:16 PM on February 17, 2003


Not to trample where thirteen is sure to respond, but:

AIDS doesn't respect national boundaries, so why should funding to help prevent it?

That's not exactly thirteen's argument. He is only looking at government spending, not how other kinds of funding should be spent. There's a large difference between what he's arguing and, your strawman, "we should not help fight AIDS in Africa."

do you think that the imagined whims of our founding fathers is a good indicator of which policies we should or shouldn't implement?

thirteen was responding to vraxoin, who first brought up the founding fathers.
posted by claxton6 at 4:18 PM on February 17, 2003


Jimbob: If you can't believe in your own "beliefs" what kind of person are you?
posted by ODiV at 4:25 PM on February 17, 2003


Have you guys ever considered this might not be all that political? That Bush is trying to prevent unnecessary surgery in a continent that likely has the absolute worst medical care possible?

That disarms the political argument totally, doesn't it?

Because, think about it. If these people aren't intelligent enough to know what causes babies, then when they find out what it is, and that they can easily and for free just hop into a hospital and get their insides vaccuumed whenever they need it, why the hell are they going to bother with contraception?

Seems to me Bush just wants to stop unnecessary suffering in that country, and that he wants to prevent people from taking the easy way out. And you know what happens when you give an ignorant person an easy way out (Iraq + war?)...

This just seems like a simple case of needing to apply Occam's razor.
posted by shepd at 4:25 PM on February 17, 2003


You've got to chill out Wulfgar! Attacks over typos are so five minutes ago for a start. Could you please restate your point, because I can't quite understand you.

Are you angry because money is being spent to help people who've already got AIDS rather than help prevent it?

Are you angry that AIDS programs must be separated from family planning programs, and this prevents the facilitation of AIDS prevention to start with?

Are you angry that money is being sent at all?

Are you angry that I keep mispelling cammunist?
posted by Jimbob at 4:26 PM on February 17, 2003


If these people aren't intelligent enough to know what causes babies

*coughs*

Are you sure that's what you mean to say? Because that's a rather outrageous suggestion.
posted by claxton6 at 4:33 PM on February 17, 2003


Are you angry that AIDS programs must be separated from family planning programs, and this prevents the facilitation of AIDS prevention to start with?

Hey, there's a clue. If thirteen wants to say that his/her money shouldn't be spent to facilitate programs in other countries, I have no problem with that. It's our (American's) money. But attempts to make any of us feel guilty because we don't want our money spent innapropriately with appeals to the common moral good (preventing the spread of AIDS) when that isn't what is at issue, is just, well, wicked.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:33 PM on February 17, 2003


Okay, so you're saying:

- It's reasonable to suggest that money may be spent for the common good - preventing the spread of HIV (AIDS doesn't spread, if you want to get semantic, HIV does).

- It's unreasonable to suggest that money may be spent just to alleviate suffering in another country, when there is no return benefit for the expenditure.

- My attack on thirteen was inappropriate becuase I confused case #2 with case #1, by substituting the words "care for the victims of AIDS" with the words "prevent AIDS"?

(Really, I'm just asking, not being judgemental - I'm just trying to understand your point of view and why you're so pissed.)
posted by Jimbob at 4:40 PM on February 17, 2003


Where's that morally superior Canada we hear so much about on Metafilter?

wtf has canada got to do with this...? or were you wondering if we too attach bizarre moral clauses to the funds we give to ailing nations...? not that i know of, thanks.

If these people aren't intelligent enough to know what causes babies

sonofabitch! please tell us you were attempting some sort of point making sarcasm with that most racist of comments.
posted by t r a c y at 4:51 PM on February 17, 2003


p.s. I'm really sorry. The last three days of PoliticFilter have left me way on edge. I'm certain that I'm not the only one. But I'm getting that eye-twitch, and irritable-bowl syndrome, and seasonal alergies, and ADD, Female Sexual Dysfunction, PostTraumaticStressSyndrome, AIDS Anxiety, and whatever else can cause me to be put on nice happy drugs. God bless Mr. Bush, and God bless America.

On preview, yes Jimbob, I was struck by the mistake of confusing prevention with treatment. If anyone in America chooses not to wish their money to be spent for either effort, that is their perogative. They can write, scream or vote. If any wish to hit them in the moral crotch with a false imperative , then I take issue.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:54 PM on February 17, 2003


That's okay Wulfgar. I wasn't really intending to create any kind of moral judgement, I was just taking issue (as I always do) with the belief some people have that private money can never be spent for the public good.
posted by Jimbob at 5:09 PM on February 17, 2003


Well jimbob I can't speak for Wulfgar! but for me I'm astounded that we want to spend $18 billion on treatment of an incurable disease.

Maybe it's the pragmatic liberal in me but that money would serve a much better purpose if we were to put it into HIV/AIDS prevention programs that specifically aimed at increasing condom usage. Hell that idea really gets me going when I think that it might even help out with future generations, over population and starvation to boot.

Sounds like a really kick ass idea doesn't it? Oh but that's right contraception is evil so we can't do that.

Evil, evil contraception...keeping our population manageable so that we can thrive economically.
posted by aaronscool at 5:12 PM on February 17, 2003


I agree aaronscool (unless you're being sarcastic - "liberal" can mean so many different things these days...) I think AIDS prevention through increasing condom usage is vital for a number of reasons. And it would be money well spent (although I've got an image of how many condoms $18,000,000 would buy)

But, as Wulfgar pointed out, I got "treatment" and "prevention" confused - I kind of assumed they were all part of the same plan.
posted by Jimbob at 5:17 PM on February 17, 2003


Seems to me Bush just wants to stop unnecessary suffering in that country

shepd - thanks for a providing a new definition of the word palooka
posted by specialk420 at 5:34 PM on February 17, 2003


Not being sarcastic and I do consider myself a pragmatic liberal.
posted by aaronscool at 5:43 PM on February 17, 2003


Uhhh... specialk... did I miss something here? I mean, Bush could always just have kept his mouth shut and done nothing instead. That way he wouldn't have everyone on this board bitching and moaning at all.

But instead he decides to do something good, and because he isn't doing it exactly the way everyone wants, everyone wants to jump down his throat.

Well, by golly, half of you Americans did vote for the guy! One would think the first half would be happy he's in office and the second half would be happy that (for once) he's showing some compassion.

But no... ;-)
posted by shepd at 6:28 PM on February 17, 2003


Where is the compassion in enforcing his morality on third world countries? As others have pointed out, the proposal is completely tied to Bush's need to appear compassionate and will likely never happen. He's setting up a debate over abortion when the issue is AIDS, which I feel is cynical and disingenuous. Bush is only looking to create more divisions between "conservatives" and "liberals" in order to keep the body politic distracted. As this thread shows, many people are not thinking of the suffering that is real, but their own (sometimes sick, twisted and racist) ideologies.
posted by elwoodwiles at 6:40 PM on February 17, 2003


Indeed, the idea that "these people aren't intelligent enough to know what causes babies" represents sick, twisted, racist ideology. And it comes from the same place, philosophically, as this idea that we are better than everyone else and thus have a right to offer help from suffering with ideological strings attached.

Why shouldn't we expect the same practice from beneficiaries of Bush's faith-based initiative or school voucher programs? If what Bush is doing is acceptable, then it is acceptable for a taxpayer-funded religious charity to refuse help to someone because they are atheist or haven't taken communion, and it is acceptable for a voucher-funded religious school to require of its students morality or allegiance oaths.
posted by troybob at 8:01 PM on February 17, 2003


>Where is the compassion in enforcing his morality on third world countries?

Pfffft! I don't see any troops killing abortion doctors, do you? Where's this "force"? In the fact that the money should be spent wisely instead of wasted? If the government offered you a cheque for $1,000 for bringing in scum off the streets (ie: bail bonds) are they forcing you to become a policeman? If money compels you to do anything, doesn't that make you even less moral than you accuse Bush of being?

Until the warships turn about from Iraq and move in on Africa, I'll say there's not much force being applied.

Again, IMHO, he's not setting up an abortion debate, he's simply keeping ignorant people from making poor choices. Of the choices:

#1. Learn to use condoms during sex
#2. Don't learn anything about the effects of sex. Instead have a baby vaccumed out monthly.
#3. Teach abstinence.

Which is the best choice for everybody? I really hope it's either number 1 or number 3. If he chose option 3, I think Africans would it both unrealistic and it likely would bring up another metafilter article about how horrible a person Bush is supposed to be.

Notice I haven't said at all in this thread which side of the abortion issue I'm on. It's just clearly better to spend the money educating the African population and providing them with contraception than to take care their of the problem after the fact. An ounce of cure is worth a pound of prevention.

If you were giving money to a city to to prevent, let's say, getting malaria would you pay for quinine pills or would you instead put the money into the prevention of spreading malaria, assuming the disease is incurable?

I feel this is showing a gleam of intelligence from Bush, and I hope it continues.

I think Bush is, for once, thinking about suffering people. Why do you feel I'm wrong? Did he specifically state that he wants to use the AIDS issue to open up an abortion debate? Did I miss something here?
posted by shepd at 8:05 PM on February 17, 2003


Coming back after a prolonged absence (snow, playing in, recommended for all of the familiar problems cited by Wulfgar, though I'm sure the effect will be temporary), and would like to add this:

thirteen -- sorry for any offense in my remark about "silly" altruism and "scorning": I have to say you do seem pretty dismissive of altruism, along with pretty much any conception of government other than your professed preference, the "ultra-minimal" form, but it wasn't my intention to put words in your mouth. From my perspective, your "offense" at the idea of aid given to dying millions raised my temperature a little bit. I hope you can imagine why.

On the treatment/prevention subject -- I don't see the treatment of impoverished AIDS patients as a waste. People whose lives are extended may live to see a cure; HIV+ pregnant women can, with treatment, give birth to children who do not develop AIDS; moreover, why isn't it proper to pay attention -- and devote resources -- to present suffering as well as future problems? Granted, prevention is where I'd like to see the bulk of the effort, but given the crisis that is afflicting Africa (take a look at some numbers), it seems to me that by extending even a margin of hope to the infected that we do a thing both good in itself and also help to rebuild a level of trust between the U.S. and the peoples of the Third World, who more and more are coming to see the U.S. as their enemy. In short, funding both prevention and treatment both seem to me to be practical as well as absolute good things.

Of course, my cynicism tells me that jpoulos is probably right; much of the good this program might do in the form outlined in Bush's State of the Union will likely be undone, more quietly, in the implementation. As in the move which prompted the start of this thread -- I'm still with the folks who say that what this will do is close out funding from clinics that provide (among an array of other services), legal abortions: an unpractical limitation to medical aid, solely functioning to please the insatiable American right wing. But it still seems possible that this could wind up better than nothing.
posted by BT at 8:14 PM on February 17, 2003


I apologize for saying Africans are unintelligent. It way my bad for using that word. I very much meant to say ignorant. Africans appear, by all articles I've read, to be extremely ignorant on the effects of sex and what, exactly, a sexually transmitted disease is. Chastise me for this, if you want. But I admit I made a mistake and hope you're all big enough to leave it at that.

I think I'll mention one other thing that's pretty important here: WE'RE DEBATING AIDS, not overpopulation. Even I got sidetracked on that one. Exactly how does abortion prevent the spread of AIDS?

Well, if the money is to prevent AIDS, don't you think it would be best spent doing that? If they're going to spend it on abortion, why not spend it on buying them helicopters to prevent AIDS? It's just as useful!

I have no clue what religion Bush is (although I know he his religious, because he considers people of my "faith" non-citizens, thank God I've never tried to be one in the first place), what schools he teaches it in, or even if 99% of the US debt is due to tithing it to churches! It doesn't matter. The issue at hand is preventing AIDS. Abortion doesn't prevent AIDS. In fact, one could argue the availability of it increases the spread of AIDS in such an (dare I say it again? YES!) ignorant-on-sexuality part of the world by taking away the problems of child birth, and therefore giving people even more reason to be promiscuous.

You would do well in life, though, troybob, to keep that sharp tongue in check before calling others racist. It's a very extreme term, and if you said it out loud in public to me on the street, I certainly would have retorted with the standard "FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE" and would certainly never speak with you again. I'd say that's not the way to have quality discourse on a topic. That is, assuming you want that.
posted by shepd at 8:31 PM on February 17, 2003


Denying funds to clinics over ideological issues is enforcing a morality; guns don't need to be drawn in order to coerce people, the mighty dollar will do just fine, thank you.

Bush is also against "prevention" as is the case with his attitudes of condoms v. abstinence. What is the point of spending money if you're just going to tell AIDS patients to "just go home and die."? Prevention is important, but so is treatment. It's rather twisted to act like AIDS patients earned their fate because "these people aren't intelligent enough to know what causes babies."

And yes, the admin is setting up an abortion debate. Think of it this way, what does abortion have to do with AIDS? Nothing, zero, zilch, nada. But abortion services are going to be a deciding factor in which clinics get funding. This is clearly an ideological decision on Bush's part, not any act of compassion. Feh.

on preview: Reread the damn thread. Many places only have one clinic to service the people and this would require that they operate a second facility in order to receive funding. It's obvious this is too much to ask of clinics that can barely afford to stay open. If this isn't about abortions, why would the funding be restricted from clinics that perform abortions? And in Africa that'd be most clinics.

Oh, and nice try acting like the one who was offended by something somebody else said. Feelings hurt little camper? Geez. Try not to call an entire population 'ignorant.' and maybe people wouldn't react to you so harshly.
posted by elwoodwiles at 8:55 PM on February 17, 2003


I appreciate all advice on how I can do well in life. Yet it's interesting that your apology falls on the heels of a response you so strongly criticize. We can only respond to each other on the basis of what we say, and I'm not particularly willing to go through all the configurations of mis-spoken and over-spoken postings in order to form a thoughtful response.

The statement "If these people aren't intelligent enough to know what causes babies..." is linguistically and thematically rooted in a paternalistic and racist world view that is consistent with the history of racism in the United States. I responded to it on that basis. The grand leap of logic that by pointing out its racist implications I necessarily called its author a racist occurred in your mind and not within the content or HTML code of this page, and thus I might prescribe some soul-searching for you as well.

That said, it was at least an interesting diversion from the central point of my post, which questioned attached moral strings vis-á-vis faith-based and voucher programs.
posted by troybob at 8:56 PM on February 17, 2003


It's rather twisted to act like AIDS patients earned their fate because "these people aren't intelligent enough to know what causes babies."

It is, it is. I suppose the problem with a land mass so populated like Africa is that the mass of AIDS patients would very much use up every last dollar the US could send over.

I don't know what the nice answer is to this, but the 100% logical answer is that prevention is the winner. But logic just doesn't cover emotions...

>But abortion services are going to be a deciding factor in which clinics get funding.

Well, if that's how it will be distributed, rather than simply tagging it with the words "Keep this money and the hospital's usual income separate -- this money only adds to the AIDS prevention / help fund, nothing else" then I have a problem with it.

The articles are light on details but heavy on speculation and innuendo, unfortunately. I'd like to see more solid accusations than what I've seen in those articles.

What I see as fact, though, is this:

To receive the money, they would have to administer AIDS programs separately from family planning, the official said.

Which says to me exactly what I discussed. Keep STD prevention a separate issue. And, if you ask me, that's good.

>Try not to call an entire population 'ignorant.' and maybe people wouldn't react to you so harshly.

The very definition of ignorant is to ignore free, common knowledge. It isn't difficult to disseminate the words: "Touching your sexual parts to someone else's will transmit AIDS". The knowledge has been available for free to the world for quite a while. I can't see how it hasn't made it into Africa by now. It's just that, for whatever reason, surprisingly many Africans don't want to hear it. And, so, therefore, those Africans are ignorant. And, since enough has been published to show that basic STD misconceptions seem to be very prevalent in Africa, 18% of South Africans are ignorant on this issue, unfortunately. It's difficult to say what the population of such people is for the North, but as it seems to be a problem for the entire continent, I feel confident in saying the numbers would be similar.

Would a standard sample of the African population show a lack of ignorance surrounding STDs (nope)? If that hurts their feelings, just think how much their feelings will be hurt when they find out that raping infants doesn't cure AIDS!

I stand by what I said.

I am paternalistic, though, when it comes to the ignorant. You've hit the target smack on with that comment.

Glad you took the meaning of my advice for the better, troybob. :-) I honestly overract to such allegations because of a youth where racism was impressed upon me by racist classmates and (this is hard to believe, but God strike me down if it isn't true) a slightly Nazi half-Jewish (ex)schoolyard best-friend.

Did I just say that out loud? In public? No, people in white coats, don't take me away! It's all their fault! Not mine!

[Godwin's law doesn't apply here, does it?]
posted by shepd at 9:57 PM on February 17, 2003


So if the US is "giving" funds to to buy, erm.. American Aids drugs, doesn't this mean that it ultimately costs the US nothing, while foisting the Bush anti abortion agenda upon hapless Africa? Just plain cynical to me.
posted by marvin at 10:11 PM on February 17, 2003


shepd: Notice I haven't said at all in this thread which side of the abortion issue I'm on. It's just clearly better to spend the money educating the African population and providing them with contraception than to take care their of the problem after the fact. An ounce of cure is worth a pound of prevention.

This depends on a view of abortion as competative with other forms of birth control. I don't know any women who particularly want to get an abortion. Abortion is the last chance alternative for when other family planning methods fail. There are other issues of power, control and sexism involved. Apparently there is a widespread resistance to condom use by men which leaves women in a bit of a bind. Many of them do not have the right to say "no" to sex, nor do they always have the power to force a man to wear a condom.

shepd: Well, if the money is to prevent AIDS, don't you think it would be best spent doing that? If they're going to spend it on abortion, why not spend it on buying them helicopters to prevent AIDS? It's just as useful!

But here is the catch. Conservatives have frequently moved to defund clinics even in cases where government funds are not directly funding abortions. Especially in rural areas where there is only one women's health clinic around, this means either removing services related to abortion or not taking the money.

And here is another wrinkle. Given the wildfire spread of AIDS among women in Africa and Asia, should HIV+ women have the choice to abort?

"Ignorant of sexuality" just seems to be a bit of cultural libel. In fact, your arugment against abortion applies equally well to condoms and other STD prevention, (which is the reason why moral conservatives push abstinance only approaches.) The arguments for abortion (and to an astonishing degree, infantcide) have little to do with promiscuity and a lot to do with the economics of having another child (and if the child happens to be female, a massive dowry).
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:18 PM on February 17, 2003


>Given the wildfire spread of AIDS among women in Africa and Asia, should HIV+ women have the choice to abort?

Ooooh, tough question. As I'm not well informed about the effects of this on a baby, I'll say that if the baby dies in these cases, maybe. (Stupid Minority Report movie making me feel bad now). Otherwise, no.

But that's my moral standpoint, and while I'd vote for it, I wouldn't dictate to another country what they're to do morally, and I certainly wouldn't let a 51% majority give me license to ride, so to speak.

>Especially in rural areas where there is only one women's health clinic around, this means either removing services related to abortion or not taking the money.

I don't know about that. The only quote I've seen in those articles is that if abortion is part of their Family Planning courses, they mustn't discuss AIDS during those courses. But a course purely on STDs at the same clinic seems to be fine by the quote, assuming it doesn't promote abortion (and I don't see a need to do so during such a class anyways).

>Many of them do not have the right to say "no" to sex, nor do they always have the power to force a man to wear a condom.

Well, that's where the education needs to begin. Discussion of abortion as an option during a contraceptives class would be fine with me, but I think it would be highly misleading to discuss such an issue during an STD class.

>In fact, your arugment against abortion applies equally well to condoms and other STD prevention

Well, since I've answered the question above, I suppose it is somewhat of an argument against abortion. But before that, I think it was much more an argument against teaching about abortion where it doesn't belong.
posted by shepd at 11:02 PM on February 17, 2003


Bush wants to deny African women the rights that American women enjoy. That in itself is pretty disgusting.
posted by Summer at 2:51 AM on February 18, 2003


Bush wants to deny African women the rights that American women enjoy.

"Enjoy"? As in enjoy the right to be sexually promiscuous and kill your offspring? Plus he's not denying anything, he's just being selective according to his (and presumably his voters') beliefs.
posted by 111 at 9:40 AM on February 18, 2003


He wants to deny those rights to American women, too.
posted by goneill at 9:58 AM on February 18, 2003


shepd: I'm not going to say much more to you about this, I find your attitudes disturbing and short-sighted. But let me just point out that while prevention is the key for the future of Africa, Africans right now need treatment. To ban funding to clinics that perform abortions hurts the larger cause of fighting HIV/AIDS. This restriction could very well lead to clinics telling patients to (as W. put it) "Go home and die." This restriction is also a message that he will be trying to limit reproductive rights in the US. I'm glad you can put your ideologies forward in a forum such as this, but ideologies don't save lives. Saving lives is the point, not enforcing a particular morality.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:02 PM on February 18, 2003


There is too much new material that has been posted for me to respond properly. The basic questions that were aimed at me were answered quite nicely by Claxton6. My thanks to him.

I should not have taken the bait, but there is something so sweet about having the road argument dropped on me everytime I turn around. Somebody must have told people that was a good way to shut up opposing opinion. Love of roads is about the faintest praise I can think of for the status quo. I know I am in the minority, so it is right and good that those of you who love them are happy.

Mcsweetie asked nice, so I will answer.

do you think that the imagined whims of our founding fathers is a good indicator of which policies we should or shouldn't implement? also, is a world power that profits, operates, and defends its own globally free from responsibility to other nations?

I regret bringing up George. I do not think the founders mean much to us today. They were brought up to justify a position, as tho they were wise enough to protect the public against people like me. In that context I think it is not unreasonable to imagine how they might feel about how we live today. Indeed, if they saw how we live now, would they have set up the government the way they did? I do not imagine that the founder's could even guess that there would be a federal income tax, or that some of that money would be spent elsewhere in the world. As for the responsibility towards other nations. I prefer to eliminate the cause of any responsibility. The government should have no relation with American business, and has no business protecting their interests. Corporations would be less able to influence the world without the support of our government, and it seems more ethical to deny the companies than it is to put a Band-Aid on the world's problems. 2 wrongs and all that.

A good chunk of the comments directed towards me after I left yesterday make basic assumptions about my views that are not true, and I do not feel I have to spend much time refuting them.
posted by thirteen at 2:24 PM on February 18, 2003


Bush wants to deny African women the rights that American women enjoy. That in itself is pretty disgusting.

Refusing money is not the same as denial of rights. This money is a bribe, and bribes can be refused. If some of these clinics refuse the money, does that mean the end for them? Are they really that reliant on American money? Hell, do we even fund abortion at home? I support reproductive rights to the end, but this is worded in a misleading way.

Also, 111, that was pretty ugly.
posted by thirteen at 2:32 PM on February 18, 2003


edwood, if you're going to quote the president out of context, could you please use the ellipsis next time?

PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: There are whole countries in Africa where more than one-third of the adult population carries the infection. More than four million require immediate drug treatment. Yet across that continent, only 50,000 AIDS victims, only 50,000, are receiving the medicine they need. Many hospitals tell people, you've got AIDS, we can't help you. Go home and die. In an age of miraculous medicines, no person should have to hear those words. (Applause)

Clearly he feels that right now clinics are doing that and that this money will help prevent that. How you ever extracted the idea that he thinks that by not allowing the discussion of abortion during STD classes the clinics will be telling people to go home and die is myopic.

And, exactly how is baby vaccuuming going to prevent AIDS? I don't hear an answer! I haven't seen one! I'll put $5 (internet bux) down that says there is no way that aborting babies is going to prevent/cure/stop the spread of AIDS.

So why discuss it in an AIDS class?

Next thing you know they'll want to discuss John 3:16 and goatse.cx in a biology class. Loosely (pun!) related, but, uhhh... totally pointless, offtopic, and to many of us, offputting.

Let's turn it around, so that I'd be offended this time:

If I went to a class that decided to discuss abortion as an AIDS solution, well, rest assured I'd be registering my disgust on the internet in minutes. Why? Because they'd be impressing their ideaolgy on me!

If that's shortsighted, well... I guess I'll have to rent some time on the hubble telescope to find something normal sighted.
posted by shepd at 4:28 PM on February 18, 2003


Please, shepd, you're being ridiculous and insensitive.
posted by goneill at 6:04 PM on February 18, 2003


>Please, shepd, you're being ridiculous and insensitive.

I am? Okaaaay...

Guess there's no point debating on the side of Bush for the few times that it seems there's a brouhaha for nothing because you've already painted him with your brush and there's clearly no room for debate. In that case, this FPP should be deleted.

If it's ridiculous to suggest that AIDS and abortion aren't related, then, fuck, call me Mr. Ridiculous.

And yeah, I'm insensitive. You have to be when people seem to think they should have the right to force their abortionistic view on people taking classes that have nothing to do with the subject. Otherwise, I'm really missing exactly what's the discussion here. Is it not a discussion on ensuring abortion is discussed during AIDS classes?

And if that's ridiculous, go ahead. Call me that. I'm the most ridiculous person in the world. God help us all. shepd thinks that AIDS and abortion are unrelated. Let's send him to hell!

I still don't see the link between abortion and AIDS. None. I still don't see where Bush says he's not going to fund abortion clinics who have proper classes on AIDS. Nope. Nothing. Nada. I see a badly written article that attempts to pin that on him despite the fact that the only quote that they have on the issue is from someone saying something totally different. Now, IMHO, that's ridiculous.

I suppose if you think it's proper to teach abortion in AIDS classes, then yeah, okay, I'm way out of line.

Otherwise, I'm sticking to my guns on this until someone can show me how having an abortion causes or prevents AIDS.
posted by shepd at 6:26 PM on February 18, 2003


Otherwise, I'm sticking to my guns on this until someone can show me how having an abortion causes or prevents AIDS.

No one is saying that. No one is arguing that abortion need be discussed when looking at AIDS prevention or treatment. What we are saying is that in many places in Africa (and, hell, probably many places in the US), the same people who provide AIDS treatment and prevention services also provide abortions or family planning services that can include discussion of abortion. Bush, according to the article, and in line with the global gag rule already in effect, would deny funds to those organizations that do both. This means that in places served by only one organization, that organization with have to choose to forego receiving help for AIDS prevention or treatment or choose to forego counseling that mentions abortions. If they choose the latter, it seems completely possible that one prominent effect will be to funnel women who could otherwise receive safe abortions to have unsafe abortions, which are both more dangerous and more tragic.

This is particularly enraging to people because it makes the US even more flagrantly hypocritical than it already is, because this kind of law would never be able to be passed in the US.

Now. People think you're ridiculous and insensitive because you're ranting about two issues that are only conflated in your own mind, and because you barged in spouting proto-racist garbage. No one wants to send you to hell; all you have to do is be civil and read a little.
posted by claxton6 at 7:15 PM on February 18, 2003


The government should have no relation with American business, and has no business protecting their interests.

agreed!
posted by mcsweetie at 7:49 PM on February 18, 2003


Hit me when the check is cashed.
posted by lightweight at 5:37 AM on February 22, 2003


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