Tuesday, March 11, 2008

National Catholic Register on "AIDS, Abortion and Africa"

From the March 16-22 issue of National Catholic Register:
WASHINGTON — In early February, a discussion draft of a House bill to reauthorize funds for the global HIV/AIDS fight ignited a political firestorm.

Pro-family leaders charged the bill contained so many family planning and “reproductive health” agendas it would “permit abortion at taxpayers’ expense” and “help eliminate Africa’s next generation.”

The bill died in committee.

A compromise measure forged in late February by House leaders and the White House has won cautious bipartisan support, but pro-family activists say serious concerns remain.

The reauthorization bill for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar), approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Feb. 27, would more than triple funding from $15 billion to $50 billion over five years.

“This bill really reflects the mainstream consensus of what this program should look like,” said Bill O’Keefe, senior director for advocacy at Catholic Relief Services. O’Keefe applauded “the strong leadership and vision that has put the interests of millions of people affected by HIV above partisan battles.”

“It’s a bill that many of the groups that would have opposed it only a few days ago will now support,” said Shepherd Smith, president and founder of the D.C.-based Institute for Youth Development.

Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said, “It is vital to preserve and expand proven life-saving programs — especially abstinence and fidelity education — while refusing to dilute and distort a successful AIDS relief program with family planning and ‘reproductive health’ activities.”

(emphasis added)

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Bob Geldof "Pissed" at Lack of Press Coverage of Bush's Africa Trip

George W. Bush Beloved in Africa for AIDS Aid

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