Saturday, September 16, 2017

32.4 - Good News: Senate committee overturns abortion gag rule

Good News: Senate committee overturns abortion gag rule

Okay, we have got a few bits of Good News or at least potentially Good News to tell you about.

In what has to be regarded as something of a surprise, the Senate Appropriations Committee moved to reinstate funding for the United Nations Population Fund and to overturn the global gag rule, a longstanding provision that bars US support for international health organizations that offer or even discuss abortion services or merely advocate for the liberalization of abortion laws, even if they were to use their own, non-US money to do so.

It's possible that one reason for this development is that TheRump expanded this so-called Mexico City Policy to include not only abortion, but a wide variety of health services, including family planning, nutrition, child health, HIV/AIDS, prevention and treatment of tuberculosis, malaria, infectious diseases, neglected tropical diseases, and even to water, sanitation, and hygiene programs. Instead of $575 million in family planning funds, it would cover $8.8 billion in global health aid, so the difference is substantial and proved a bridge too far for even a couple of GOPpers on the committee.

The vote was narrow, 16-15, and it still has to get through the whole Senate which is a whole other battle, but for the moment, savor an unexpected victory, especially as this comes at a time when Texas is applying for a Medicaid waiver to allow it to deny Medicaid reimbursement to Planned Parenthood, another GOPper attempt to financially cripple the organization and block women's access to birth control as The Handmaid's Tale creeps closer to reality.

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