Moral turpitude
October 6, 2008 9:31 AM   Subscribe

As reported in the Guardian the US has cut funding for condoms in Marie Stopes' African clinics. In 2007 MSI provided 129 million male and female condoms. Since 2001 with the Mexico City Policy commonly known as " The Global Gag" The Bush administration has blocked birth control access at every turn. It has tried to redefine Contraception as Abortion.

These Conservative US policies hit health aid in Africa. TheGulagGagRuleOrg's continuing research shows the gag rule is eroding family planning and reproductive health services in developing countries.( Related 1 + 2 ).
posted by adamvasco (38 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

that is all

just *weeps*
posted by infini at 9:35 AM on October 6, 2008

Well, on the bright side, U.S. influence on world aid programs is about to be severely curtailed.
posted by Xoebe at 9:37 AM on October 6, 2008

U.S. influence on world aid programs is about to be severely curtailed.

In what respect, Charlie?
posted by DU at 9:41 AM on October 6, 2008

I'm guessing he means with a new President or the fact that we can't pay our domestic bills, so won't have money to go buying people condoms. But I'm just guessing.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:44 AM on October 6, 2008

It's genocide with a smiley face!
posted by 2sheets at 9:46 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

And we wonder why STD infection rates are on the rise. AIDS/HIV have been getting a lot of press lately. I guess our next step is to start "abstinence only" education for food programs overseas.
posted by wavering at 9:47 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wait, I thought that the American administration didn't want more brown people in the world...?!
posted by porpoise at 9:52 AM on October 6, 2008

Of course they do. More brown people makes for a larger underclass, which makes for a wealthier upperclass.
posted by illiad at 9:55 AM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

All the outrage in this thread is founded on the presumption that American humanitarian efforts under the Bush administration are designed to save human lives.

They're not.

Actual human lives are of little importance to the real goals of these programs, which are to save African souls.
posted by Avenger at 9:56 AM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

Because, hey, abstinance only programs have worked SO WELL in the States. Reducing poverty abroad is in the US's direct interest, which is why our consistantly anti-family planning stance is so mind boggling to me. Why on earth would anyone want to force MORE CHILDREN on the world's poorest women?

In what respect, Charlie?
Financial crisis at home = less gov't funding for projects elsewhere. Understandably. On preview, what cjorgensen said.

posted by asnowballschance at 9:57 AM on October 6, 2008

The degree to which US public health initiatives have been co-opted by social conservatives under the Bush administration has been extremely troublesome. If you want to push an abstinence centered program vis-a-vis the world's AIDS epidemic then it should be done with funds allocated in addition to those spent on reducing infection rates (condoms, sex ed) and subsidies to help with treatment (discounted drugs). To go with an abstinence only program ignores public health research and would require more resources in the long run as additional drugs for additional infected individuals is far more costly than providing condoms.
posted by vuron at 10:01 AM on October 6, 2008

Is this the thread where we all sing Every Sperm is Sacred?
posted by rtha at 10:04 AM on October 6, 2008

There will certainly be less U.S. money available to dominate aid politics. It's a bit of hyperbole, I was making a reference to the economy more than anything else.

As far as the next President issue, should Obama win the U.S. election, there should be a sharp turnaround in U.S. policy in this area. It may be the case that funding could be maintained, but that remains to be seen. If McCain wins, he isn't a fundamentalist, but I imagine he would be unlikely to waste political capital on changing this policy. He is almost certain to reduce aid funding though, and with that goes the influence.
posted by Xoebe at 10:05 AM on October 6, 2008

Ah, so this is how they define "pro-life" ... promoting squalor, misery, pain and no options or hope.

It is time to strip those savage faux-christians of that label.
posted by Surfurrus at 10:09 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Just some numbers:

The Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) establishes 13% of its funding for prevention of sexual transmission of AIDS. 6% of this funding is for condom and contraception distribution, 7% is for abstinance and monogamy promotional programming.

MSI is one of dozens of programs that has been funded and supplied by USAID for condom and contraceptive distribution. In 2007 for example PEPFAR programs distributed 86 million condoms in Tanzania alone, whereas MSI distributed 5 to 7 million condoms.

That said, MSI has a massive grass roots network that cannot be discounted. Cutting them off means many rural areas will go under served or not served at all.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:12 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is not something new or unknown, but the odd part is that we allow for more and more births and then send more and more aid in our cute humanitarian way. Go figure.
posted by Postroad at 10:13 AM on October 6, 2008

Ah, so this is how they define "pro-life" ... promoting squalor, misery, pain and no options or hope.

They're pro-life, not pro-quality of life.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:32 AM on October 6, 2008 [8 favorites]

I imagine a day when I head to my local pharmacy to fill my birth control prescription and am turned away by the only pharmacist on duty because, under the new Health Department regulations, my birth control pills have been redefined as a 28-pack of abortions and the pharmacist has the right to refuse to participate.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 10:40 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Guess who is getting condoms though?
posted by infini at 10:42 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Hey! You just posted about the very first thing Bush did when he took office! Right on. Seems like so long ago...and who coulda guessed that we'd be so much better off now, eight years later, with a guy who considered this bit of policy so important that it was the very first thing he did as Prezidant?
posted by Chuffy at 10:47 AM on October 6, 2008

Do these people qualify as the ones we're giving money to that hate us? Possibly for our freedom?

Senator McCain? Anyone?
posted by giraffe at 10:48 AM on October 6, 2008

There seems to be some misunderstanding of the context here. As Pollomacho points out, the Bush administration's international AIDS efforts (which represent a massive increase in AIDS prevention and treatment funding on the part of the US government) have included condom distribution. While the withdrawal of funding from MSI is concerning (and I would like to see a little more detail on the alleged ties to forced abortion/sterilization in China), it certainly is not part of any broad policy against condoms.

The link on "redefining contraception as abortion" seems to be a bit of a red herring in this post. It's about contraceptive pills, which are not part of any AIDS prevention program. No one in the Bush administration is attempting to define condom use as abortion. That's more of a Vatican hobby horse.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:55 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is one of those areas that I can go from zero to furious in less than 10 seconds. All we need to do to immeasurably improve the quality of life of millions of people is to get them accurate sex education, and provide them with condoms.

These are not resources that could be realistically used for anything more than intended, (unlike food or fuel which could be stockpiled by local warlords for all manner of badness), and as long as we are capable of helping or encouraging the rest of the world to provide aid, we should be doing it.

"abstinence only" education clearly doesn't work and it's killing thousands if not millions.
posted by quin at 10:59 AM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

posted by mandal at 12:16 PM on October 6, 2008

posted by Mister_A at 12:19 PM on October 6, 2008

Look here’s how it’s gonna go, see? Yaah, I got a rubber on my johnson right now copper, yaah, see? Whaddya gonna do about it? That’s right, nuthin, yaah.

“No one in the Bush administration is attempting to define condom use as abortion. That's more of a Vatican hobby horse.”

Really? Izzat the Bushco that ordered the CDC in 2004 (june 16 - in the federal register) to demand that AIDs service organizations tell people essentially that condoms don’t work or lose their funding?
The same Bush administration that singled out abstinence education as the key reason for Uganda's significant reduction of HIV incidence rates despite their program showing behavior change with condoms was most responsible and abstinence was a negligible factor for those already sexually active?
Yeah, I heard about that somewhere
Well, the more things change...
posted by Smedleyman at 12:20 PM on October 6, 2008

This is why it's important to stop attempting to talk sense to right wingers and evangelicals and start hitting them in the face with boards.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:39 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

fleetmouse - Oh, if only that could be the board of science and critical thinking! Then again, I could see this administration getting behind faceboarding, though it would depend whose face and who gets to swing the board.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 1:04 PM on October 6, 2008

I prefer to call it Clueboarding™
posted by fleetmouse at 1:21 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Really, I think we can all learn a few lessons from W. Bush. Considering that he and his wife only had one pregnancy, the man hasn't had sex in over 20 years.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:30 PM on October 6, 2008

I don't think they are so much "pro-life" as "pro-fetus"



(that motherfucker)
posted by edgeways at 4:02 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Aside from everything else loathesome about this, there's the evangelical idea that only their way could possibly be the right way. Telling people of a different culture/different religion that they'll only receive aid if they act like the evangelicals, which essentially means ditch their own culture and values and take up Christianity.

Aside from the disconnect from reality (teens have sex! Shocking news!), their willingness to force their head in the ground mentality is causing real, quantifiable harm. Pigfuckers.

Then again, missionaries of every stripe piss me off. "Hey, you there! Everything you believe is wrong! We're right! Change what you're doing, or you'll be damned to our conception of hell!"
posted by Ghidorah at 4:37 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

> Aside from the disconnect from reality (teens have sex! Shocking news!), their willingness to
> force their head in the ground mentality is causing real, quantifiable harm. Pigfuckers.

Why bring up Scotland at a time like this?
posted by jfuller at 5:04 PM on October 6, 2008

Am I the only one who actually read the article before jumping on the knee-jerk bash bush bus? The administration has paid for condoms in africa. They're not paying this group, because they think they are performing forced abortions in china.

And in response to the comment above which blames a HIV in africa on a lack of condoms, here's a factiod. HIV is prevalent in africa, because they screwed up myths that say raping a pure virgin will cure it.
posted by snookums at 7:39 PM on October 6, 2008

snookums, do you think it's reasonable to punish African women by causing them to have more abortions because it's alleged that MSI "condones" (whatever that means) forced abortion in China? And do you suppose that the administration's lips were moving when they made that allegation?

And Holy Mother of God, America is the LAST party that should be complaining about looking the other way WRT Chinese human rights violations. Lip service, lip service, buy my debt heh heh

But America's fine nuttables are firmly in the grip of the Chinese so this is who they lash out at instead.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:00 PM on October 6, 2008

Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger: I'm sorry to tell you, but that day is basically here.

Back in July, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a rule that a) allows the subjective re-definition of abortion, and b) required all recipients of federal grant money to certify that their employees didn't have to do anything against their consciences, like providing these newly-redefined 'abortions.' So if your pharmacist thought that birth control = abortions, they'd be protected under this law for refusing to dispense it to you.

From the the proposal:
p 16, lines 7-13.
A 2001 Zogby International American Values poll revealed that 49% of Americans believe that human life begins at conception. Presumably many who hold this belief think that any action that destroys human life after conception is the termination of a pregnancy, and so would be included in their definition of the term “abortion.” Those who believe pregnancy begins at implantation believe the term “abortion” only includes the destruction of a human being after it has implanted in the lining of the uterus.

p 17, lines 4-10.
Because the statutes that would be enforced through this regulation seek, in part, to protect individuals and institutions from suffering discrimination on the basis of conscience, the conscience of the individual or institution should be paramount in determining what constitutes abortion, within the bounds of reason. As discussed above, both definitions of pregnancy are reasonable and used within the scientific and medical community. The Department proposes, then, to allow individuals and institutions to adhere to their own views and adopt a definition of abortion that encompasses both views of abortion.
Emphasis mine. You can find the full text of the bill at this site. There's a an op-ed by Hillary Clinton and Cecile Richards here..

The comment period for the rule ended on September 25. I'm really, really worried that the rule will be adopted and fuck over so many women who already have extremely limited access to family planning services, particularly in rural areas.

Sorry for the derail, and also the length.
posted by foodmapper at 10:50 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

foodmapper - God damn.

Ladies, we need to talk with all of our health care providers to make sure that they're on the same page we are when it comes to family planning. Call your primary care providers, gynecologists and pharmacists. Make sure they'll provide you with the care and the options you need. If they won't, find someone who will.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 8:03 AM on October 7, 2008

Can This Be Pro-Life?
posted by homunculus at 5:15 PM on October 9, 2008

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