President's Ban on International Abortion Funds
President Bush has expanded a White House policy that prohibits federal funds from going to international organizations that perform abortions or lobby foreign governments to liberalize their abortion laws.
The president issued a memorandum Aug. 29 that requires all State Department funding for population planning to be governed by what is known as the Mexico City policy. The decision expanded a 2001 order by Bush that restricts family planning funds through the U.S. Agency for International Development. The State Department grants population-planning funds not only through USAID but through other channels as well.
The memo provided another example that Bush "is strongly and emphatically a pro-life president and the friend of the unborn everywhere in the world," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "This president is pro-life by deep and profound conviction, and all pro-life Americans should be deeply grateful for this president and this action."
President Reagan first established the restriction on USAID family planning funds for foreign, nongovernmental organizations in 1984. President Clinton rescinded the policy after he became president in 1993, but Bush re-instituted it about two months after he entered the White House.
Abortion rights organizations, including Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-choice America, criticized Bush for his action.
The AIDS law authorized $15 billion in United States aid during the next five years to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in countries devastated by the disease in Africa and the Caribbean. It included two pro-family elements promoted by the ERLC and others – at least one-third of the funding is to go for abstinence-based programs, and there is a conscience clause protecting faith-based groups from being required to distribute condoms in order to receive aid.
Bush's memo came at the end of a week in which it was announced the White House had revoked AIDS funding to a British organization because of its work with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The State Department ruled Marie Stoopes International cooperates with the UNFPA in supporting China's coercive population control program.
Increase in Teen Prostitutes
Over the last year, local and federal law-enforcement officials say they have noted a marked increase in teen prostitution in cities across the country, according to an article in the August 18 issue of Newsweek.
The article reports that law-enforcement agencies and advocacy groups that work with teen prostitutes say the kids are getting younger – the average age of a new recruit is just thirteen according to the FBI. Authorities are also alarmed that a growing number now come from middle-class homes.
The article said that compared to three years ago there has been a 70 percent increase in kids are from middle- to upper-middle-class backgrounds, many of whom have not suffered mental, sexual, or physical abuse.
The article also indicated that pimps are increasingly targeting girls at the local mall, a place many parents consider a haven for their kids to gather after school and on weekends.
Child advocates are concerned about, and puzzled by, girls who aren't forced into prostitution but instead appear to sell themselves for thrills, or money, or both.
"Everyone thinks they are runaways with drug problems from the inner city," says Andy Schmidt, a Minneapolis detective who helped bust a major Twin Cities prostitution ring. "It's not true. This could be your kid."
PRNewswire, August 10, 2003