31 January 2003
Volume 5/ Number 3
In his State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush unveiled a $15 billion AIDS relief plan for Africa. But if even part of this massive infusion of funds goes to groups that perform or promote abortion, this would be a step backwards for a pro-life administration. And the condom-promoting aspect of this campaign is troublesome as well. The massive distribution of condoms in Africa has not only not stopped the spread of AIDS, it has put millions more at risk of infection in the name of prevention.
Steven W. Mosher
Condom-pushing Abortion Groups May Benefit from AIDS Plan
President Bush surprised the nation this week during his State of the Union address by unveiling an Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. He asked Congress “to commit $15 billion over the next five years, including $10 billion in new money, to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean.”(1)
Today in Africa, the President said, “nearly 30 million people have the AIDS virus — including 3 million children under the age of 15…. There are whole countries in Africa where more than one-third of the adult population carries the infection.” He added that only about 50,000 people in Africa “are receiving the medicine they need.” The President pointed out that “Anti-retroviral drugs can extend life for many years” and that the cost of these drugs has dropped from “$12,000 per year to under $300.”
While a key part of this AIDS package would consist of basic aid, and even the promotion of abstinence, what was not mentioned is that condoms are also a key part of this plan, and that many groups that provide or promote abortions would be responsible for implementing the program.
How effective is an AIDS relief program consisting of basic aid, but that is implemented by groups that provide or promote abortion? Under the Mexico City Policy, groups that provide or promote abortion may not receive foreign aid funding for family planning. But this restriction does not apply to AIDS funding. Thus groups like the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which do abortions and are involved in population control programs, would be able to replenish their coffers.
How effective is an AIDS relief program which ostensibly promotes abstinence, but is implemented by groups that provide or promote abortion or population control? Currently, many USAID-funded groups operate population control programs that supposedly include “abstinence education.” The trouble is that abstinence is often only a fig leaf for the promotion of abortifacient contraceptives. For example, in Kenya, the USAID-funded NGO Family Health International (FHI) merely touches on abstinence before passing quickly to the marketing and distribution of oral and injectible contraceptives for women and teenagers. Women who say they practice abstinence are nonetheless encouraged to accept contraception, and the risks of contraceptives and the benefits of abstinence are not provided.(3)
How effective is an AIDS relief program that consists of the massive distribution of condoms by clever “social marketing” programs? The fact is, such marketing techniques necessarily promote a lifestyle which contributes to the spread of AIDS. One of the best ways to promote abstinence and fight AIDS in Africa is to fight prostitution. Prostitution is a deadly trade; deadly to women, men, children and families. If the international community is serious about fighting AIDS, then it must fight prostitution. Providing clients and prostitutes with condoms, as the pro-abortion groups do, actually encourages prostitution and thus contributes to the spread of AIDS.
President Bush is right: The United States should lead the way in fighting to end the scourge of AIDS. And real solutions based on an unequivocal commitment to abstinence are possible. But both the Administration and the Congress should insist that these billions of dollars in AIDS relief spending not go to pro-abortion, pro-population control groups. Only groups that are solely dedicated to abstinence—and therefore have no hidden agenda—should be tasked with implementing this program.
1. President George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, January 28, 2002, Washington, DC.
3. “Provider checklists for reproductive health services,” Family Health International, 2002; http://www.fhi.org/en/fp/checklistse/