Why do Republicans in the House play the same old song every year when sitting down to decide the fate of millions of women worldwide? Every year they trot out their mean-spirited, anti-woman agenda aimed at cutting funds for reproductive health. They take steps to ensure that women whose lives are at risk from a dangerous pregnancy can't get the help they need. They prevent aid recipients from making decisions that are in their own citizens' and patients' best interests. They insist that Peace Corps volunteers raped during their service to this country must carry to term their unwanted pregnancies.
The House Republicans keep putting this foreign aid broken record of paternalism and misogyny on the turntable and hope America will dance to it.
Their latest appalling opus slashes funding for international voluntary family planning by 25 percent. It reinstates the dreadful Global Gag Rule that Republican presidents since Reagan have implemented to cut off funding to some of the most effective, experienced, and respected providers of contraceptive supplies, family planning information, and reproductive health care services in the developing world. They continue working to bar funding to the UNFPA despite the fact that the erroneous assumptions on which these passions were stoked decades back have long-since been proven incorrect. And despite the reality that the UNFPA continues to be a highly effective women and children's health program that works to reduce maternal mortality, prevent HIV/AIDS, and provide contraception to the world's most vulnerable populations -- which helps limit unintended pregnancy and abortion.
Also in the "evidence-be-damned" category, they propose blocking funding for scientific research at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Meanwhile they support a crescendo in coal-fired power plant construction.
The bill's composers manage to undercut the two main chords in efforts to reduce climate change: reducing women's access to desired family planning -- helping to stabilize population size -- and facilitating burning of fossil fuels. All while rhapsodizing that they're "protecting" women and "ensuring respect for life around the globe."
Out of tune. Out of touch.
Needless to say, we'll be working hard to make sure that this misguided bill never becomes law. Read more on our website, and please join us in that fight.
John Seager is President of Population Connection, www.populationconnection.org, America's voice for population stabilization.