Senator Clinton Critical of Bush Policies on Abstinence and Reproductive Health

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) criticized the Bush administration for putting too much emphasis on abstinence in the fight against HIV/AIDS and restricting women’s access to reproductive health services in developing countries in a recent address to the International Women’s Health Coalition. Clinton stated that although the Bush administration supports the “ABC” HIV prevention model, which stands for abstinence, be faithful and use condoms, they are emphasizing sexual abstinence rather than contraceptives and condom use, especially among single people. “ABC is a good strategy,” Clinton said, “but it has three parts to it and we need to remind the administration of that” reports Reuters. Clinton was also critical of the Global Gag Rule, instituted by Bush, which cuts funding to international organizations that even discuss abortion with their patients, according to Kaisernet.org. The Global Gag Rule helps to contribute to a deplorable situation of some 80,000 women and girls dying of botched unsafe abortions in third world countries.

Domestic spending on abstinence only programs has also increased to record levels under the Bush administration. Despite the increasing evidence that abstinence-only programs fail to deter sexual behavior, the Congress included nearly $170 million for abstinence only education for FY 2005, more than double the amount of money spent by the government on these programs four years ago when Bush took office as president. A recent report released by Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) found that 11 of 13 most popular abstinence-only programs are providing medically inaccurate information. A study of Advocates for Youth found ten state programs demonstrated no long-term success in influencing sexual behavior.

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Kaisernet.org 1/12/05; Reuters 1/12/05; Feminist Majority News Wire 12/04/04

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