Sunday, July 03, 2005

Oh man, you gotta read this!

I copied this from NY Times:


July 2, 2005
Taking the Prostitution Pledge

Since 2003, the Bush administration has required foreign groups fighting AIDS overseas to pledge their opposition to prostitution and sex trafficking before they get money from Washington. Last month, the administration expanded the requirement to American groups. On its face, this law seems innocuous. Who supports prostitution?

But in countries like India, controlling AIDS among prostitutes and their clients is the key to keeping the disease from exploding into the general population. So some very effective programs are built around trying to make sure that prostitutes and their customers use condoms. The groups who run these programs try to gain the trust of prostitutes by providing them with health care and teaching them about safe sex. They argue that being forced to state their opposition to prostitution would limit their ability to do that. Brazil turned down a $40 million grant from the United States because it did not want to imperil successful programs.

The Bush administration and some of its supporters disagree. They argue that anything that makes life more tolerable for prostitutes encourages prostitution. That would include organizing sex workers in India to stand up to abusive clients, or helping Bangladeshi prostitutes get shoes so they can leave the brothel to visit a health clinic. Initially, the Justice Department ruled that the prostitution pledge could not be required of American groups because the American Constitution guarantees the right to free speech. The administration's turnabout would seem vulnerable to a constitutional challenge.

The new anti-prostitution requirement may have a hidden purpose: to take away the right of American groups working on family planning overseas to counsel abortions. On his first day in office, President Bush signed a reinstatement of President Ronald Reagan's policy blocking American funds for overseas family-planning groups that so much as mention abortion. Both restrictions are the work of Representative Christopher Smith, a New Jersey Republican. The abortion gag rule has never applied to American groups, for the same First Amendment reasons that the prostitution pledge did not. But the decision to strip Americans of their First Amendment right to speak as they please on prostitution opens the way to an attempt to keep them silent on abortion, too.

1 comment:

bobby bacon said...

Does that mean Las Vegas (Sin City) will not obtain Federal funding. How about LA or NYC. The wink, wink, nudge, nudge that goes on in America’s Billion Dollar sex trade is incredible. If W wishes to put a dent in the Africa sex industry, he could attack poverty with no strings attached. That would be more effective.

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