Friday, October 15, 2004

Too Many Outrages To Count - Part 2

Here we go again, thumbing our nose at the international community...and women the world over.

More than 250 world figures -- but not the Bush administration -- have urged the United Nations to promote a population agenda that seeks women's education, health care and family planning.

The United States refused to support a statement from presidents, prime ministers and Nobel Prize winners, released on Wednesday, because it included the concept of "sexual rights," which had no "agreed definition," a State Department letter said.

At issue is the 10th anniversary of a 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo that abandoned population control goals. Instead it determined that if women were literate and had access to reproductive health care, they would choose to have fewer children.

Wednesday's statement reaffirms a 1994 commitment "to an action plan to ensure universal access to reproductive health information and services, uphold fundamental human rights including sexual and reproductive rights, alleviate poverty, secure gender equality, and protect the environment."

It also says that despite progress, poor nations were experiencing exponential increases in AIDS, persistent high levels of death from pregnancy and birth complications as well as inadequate access to family planning.

So who did sign it?

Among the signatories were 85 prime ministers and presidents, including those from all 25 European Union nations as well as China, Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Peru and a dozen African countries.

Ahh, even those bastions of civil rights China and Pakistan freakin' signed it, but nope, not us. And a little shout out to anyone who still thinks there's really no difference between the two parties:

Also signing were former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter as well as 47 Nobel Prize winners.

In Cairo 10 years ago, 179 countries approved a lengthy document and action plan, including Clinton's Democratic administration, which reversed earlier Republican positions and agreed that abortion, in nations where legal, should be safe.

Since President Bush took office, the $34 million annual funds for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) have been withheld on grounds that it supports forced abortions in China, a contention the agency denies and says Washington never proved.


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