12 October 2003

The Tragedy of the Gag Rule

An editorial in today's Boston Globe details the lives the Bush administration's gag rule is taking in Africa and Eastern Europe.

In Ethiopia, where people in some areas must walk two days to reach a highway, the rule has interfered with outreach programs that provide health care to otherwise forgotten communities. Voluntary AIDS counseling, testing, and prevention programs have been decimated. Life expectancy in Ethiopia, according to the United Nations, is 45 years.

In Romania, where abortion is tragically common, family planning counselors accepting US funds cannot reach women when they need it most -- immediately after having an abortion. Health workers are not allowed to lobby for safer abortion techniques or equipment. A successful program funded jointly by Planned Parenthood and US AID designed precisely to help women avoid abortion can no longer provide condoms to women at clinics where abortions are performed.

It's a shame that so-called "abortion politics" are so black and white for the "pro-life" lobby that pulls Bush's strings. One might as well call the gag rule "pro-death."


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