Roundup: Condoms Trump Abstinence in Obama Global AIDS Policy

Condoms Trump Abstinence in Obama Global AIDS Policy

President-elect Barack Obama will
reverse U.S. family-planning and AIDS-prevention strategies
have long linked global funding to anti-abortion and abstinence
education, a public-health adviser told Bloomberg:

Public-health policies of President George W. Bush’s $45-
billion PEPFAR program have brought AIDS drugs to almost 3
million people in poor countries such as Rwanda and Uganda, more
than under any other president. Still, requirements that health
workers emphasize abstinence from sex and monogamy over condom
use have set back sexually transmitted disease prevention and
family planning globally, said Susan F. Wood, co-chairman of
Obama’s advisory committee for women’s health.

"We have been going in the wrong direction and we need to
turn it around and be promoting prevention and family-planning
services and strengthening public health,” said Wood, a
research professor at George Washington University School of
Public Health in Washington.

Obama "is committed to looking at all this and changing
the policies so that family-planning services — both in the
U.S. and the developing world — reflect what works, what helps
prevent unintended pregnancy, reduce maternal and infant
mortality, prevent the spread of disease,” Wood said.

Obama will bring “back a sense of balance and perspective
and the use of good science and good medicine in these
positions, and not just this narrow, political ideology,” she


Defeating Individual Choice: Linking Abortion & Marital Consent in India

On November 7th an Indian Supreme Court Bench held that an abortion by a woman without her husband’s consent will amount to mental cruelty.  In India mental cruelty is an established legal ground for divorce, thus the ruling would allow a husband to divorce his wife for obtaining an abortion without his consent:

In an already tapered-down scenario, it is humbly stated that the SC through its recent judgment in Suman Kapur v. Sudhir Kapur(Nov.
7, 2008) has further exacerbated the submissive condition on women in
our society. The Hon’ble Court has virtually stated that the husband’s
consent is mandatory before a foetal abortion is made: by linking the
absence of consent to mental cruelty, the Apex Court has given the
already-dominant male partner a trump-card of sorts to enforce his
preferences on a matter critically relevant to women. Perhaps the
Hon’ble Court may have been guided by the pressing need to endorse
consensual decisions in the family. However, the judgment cannot be
read in isolation from prevalent societal circumstances, and one can
regretfully point out the existence of anything but a level-playing


Court Keeps Abortion Off License Plates

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Illinois secretary of
state’s office does not have to issue specialty license plates bearing
the slogan ”Choose Life” favored by anti-abortion forces:

”It has authorized neither a pro-life plate nor a pro-choice plate,”
the court said. ”It has done so on the reasonable rationale that
messages on specialty license plates give the appearance of having the
government’s endorsement, and Illinois does not wish to be perceived as
endorsing any position on abortion.”


Down but not Demoralized Over Obama Victory, Christian Right Faces Another Crossroads

It is fair to say that last Tuesday’s election was a setback for the Christian Right.  Their party lost seats in both houses of Congress, lost the White House and lost most of the state-level ballot initiatives they backed around the country, including all those that sought to limit a woman’s right to choose.  Still the Christian Right is still a large and well organized political force and they question is not whether or not they will regroup and be heard from in future political struggles but rather the question is about how they regroup.  Talking Points Memo‘s Eric Gorski investigates the possibility that unsung leaders of the Christian Right who advocate consensus-building and expanding the agenda to include global poverty and the environment might have an opening to take the movement in that more bi-partisan, broader direction:

Joel Hunter, an Orlando, Fla., megachurch pastor, fits that
definition. Hunter, 60, is anti-abortion but also signed a statement on
climate change and has denounced "hateful immigration rhetoric." He
also delivered the closing prayer at this summer’s Democratic National
Convention and prayed with Obama by phone Tuesday before the
president-elect took the stage in Chicago’s Grant Park.

really works in this country is not inciting the base, but making
partnerships with people with different views to advance your agenda,"
Hunter said. "Those who don’t will marginalize themselves politically.
I don’t think advancement of a cause primarily by attack is the way of
the future."

On gay rights, Hunter said evangelicals can
find a home in coalitions that support restricting the institution of
marriage to one man and one woman but advocate that gays be able to
form legal relationships short of marriage — and that no one face job

There was some evidence Tuesday that younger evangelicals are drawn
to a wider agenda. While younger white evangelicals did not go en
masse to Obama, the Democrat made significant inroads. Exit polls
showed the proportion of white evangelicals under age 30 who backed
Obama this year was double the 16 percent who supported Kerry in 2004.

Four years ago, white evangelicals under 30 were even stronger Bush supporters than those over 50.

too early to say this portends really badly for Republicans in the
future and means Democrats are going to pick up a lot of support from
the evangelical community for the next 20 years," said D. Michael
Lindsay, a Rice University sociologist who specializes in evangelicals
and politics. "Younger evangelicals desperately wanted a change because
they were so disappointed in the Bush administration."


Fractures Within Antiabortion Movement Helped Doom Ballot Initiatives

The Tennesean says that divisions among anti-choice organizations helped to doom the anti-choice initiatives on the ballot last week to failure:

Hard-line anti-abortion groups like the American Life League opposed
the South Dakota ballot measure because it had exceptions. Two years
ago, South Dakota voters rejected a statewide abortion ban that did not
contain exceptions.

Other groups like Americans United for Life
and National Right to Life did not support the Colorado measure,
questioning its timing and the wisdom of its all-or-nothing approach.

of the strongest opponents of abortion may have been responsible for
(the South Dakota) measure’s defeat," said Bob Burns, a retired South
Dakota State University political science professor. "South Dakota
Right to Life made a public statement that they opposed the initiative
because of the exceptions — they took an absolutist position. The
Catholic Church had an ambivalent position."


What Obama’s Win Could Mean for Women’s Health in America and Around the World

Two reads worth your time gather up likely changes to women’s health policy under an Obama administration.  Check out Deborah Kotz’s post, of the U.S. News and World Report‘s On Women blog, that lists 7 women’s health issues that Obama will likely change once in office including an end to federal funding of abstinence-only programs, ending the global gag rule and increase in funding for family planning clinics serving the uninsured.  Also Juhie Bhatia’s post at Global Voices Online, for a roundup of international reaction to Obama’s election and hopes for changes to America’s foreign health policy.  


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  • invalid-0

    It’s so great to see that the people’s voices are finally being heard by a new president, and that they will finally begin to relieve TRUE sexual education, and will be given options. Thankfully there is now going to be education, including the use of condoms, which ONE Condoms, strongly backs and pushed Obama to support.

  • invalid-0

    Yes, there’s nothing like piting a leaky, poorly applied condom against abstinence, which is always 100% effective in disease protection. There’s just no money in abstinence, or mosquito control so both the left and the right have a social issue that they can benefit from. Let’s ship more pills and bed nets while African children die by the millions.

  • invalid-0

    you begin by saying that condoms are leaky & poorly applied. see, that would be part of the education africans would receive, pitting it against that always, 100% effect abstinence. yet, what i find so amazing about abstinence pushers is their refusal to accept this reality: while abstinence is 100% effective, human beings are not.
    then you somehow tie mosquitoes into this. are you talking about malaria now?
    and the right and left have social issues to benefit from? wow, cynical much. and i’m saying that being a fairly cyncial person myself.
    and i really don’t understand your last bit at all. so, we shouldn’t ship nets and medicine to africans, though i’m sure those are both needed, because….why? african babies are dying…but does that have to do with no money in mosquito control, abstinence only, or leaky and poorly applied condoms?

  • invalid-0

    Just ask one of the millions of kids raised without an education on safe sex and told simply, “just don’t do it.” Somehow a lot of those kids got pregnant. Abstinence is not 100% effective.

    And a little off-topic, but, no money in mosquito control? Governments are spending millions of dollars on research to quell the mosquito population in Africa. But why let a few silly facts get in the way of your ill-informed rant? Carry on.

  • lilianvanders

    Non-standard application Obama condoms:
    video here

  • invalid-0

    Christians have a revealed view of how the world works. They are informed by a Handbook written by the greatest authur in the universe. And through the Holy Spirit and through general revelation. To Christians, sex is a man and a woman married to each other. Behavior outside of that is sin, and Christians avoid practicing sin, try to run from sin, and encourage each other to avoid getting trapped in sin. That doesn’t mean there is no sin, only that on the whole, Christians flee from it. The understanding is intuative since nature of the world is universal.

    People tend to be osteriches with there heads in the sand in this understanding. They see it as a threat. Tell somebody at work that you dont have a TV in the house and your going to start getting lectures on how some TV is good. People are very defensive of their sexual lifestyles.

    There is a practical aspect of reserving sex to marriage. It seperates the worlds population in to small groups of 2. Any mutant virus transmitted sexually affect onlt those 2 people. It can not escape to infect others and no mutants from the outside can infect them. If you confirm before marriage that they dont have any sexual diseases, then neither of them or any of there children will ever have any sexual diseases, provided they continue to follow there vows in marriage, and the unmarried children remain chased until there own marriage.

  • therealistmom

    … live in the real world where STI’s are not a punishment from "god", and recognize that sexuality is a normal part of human existence, and that marriage is a societal construct that does not magically make sex or even having children suddenly ok.

    Using the excuse that a virus or bacterium can’t be spread beyond two people and so it indicates that  we need to stop a perfectly natural behavior is rather silly. You can’t catch a cold unless you come in contact with another person with a rhinovirus- does that indicate we should not have human contact at all, or should we work on ways to keep it from spreading, kill the viruses in the wild, and educate people on how to avoid spreading the virus to others?



  • emma

    The problem is that what the Bible says is meaningless to those of us who are atheists.


    It is entirely possible to have healthy, loving, lengthy, monogamous relationships without marriage. And here’s my pre-emptive strike: it is perfectly possible for atheists to live good lives, and to feel love, care and compassion for others.


    Why is it that the most religious states in the US have such extraordinarily high divorce rates?


    For the person about complaining about ‘leaky condoms’ – if you’re finding that they leak or slip off, you need a different size.





  • invalid-0

    Reviewing the subject with my fellow teenagers, we argued endlessly about abortion,abstinence an sex overall.Parents have a huge say in what we do,however we seem to always get our ways for repression is not in our blood.Even though a large sum of money goes into preventing aids an supporting its victims little can be done once in place.
    Up to date the virus sweeps the antibodies of humans like a tsunami, seems only one last resort but to attempt a mass prevention. Such as World Wide Aids awareness in which the
    unaffected seem to careless an contribute only to their own dismay.As a teenager i propose my self to prevent our own
    flaws to intrude in the joy of life,for said reasons i have joined the One Condoms Street Team in which we promote One condoms with the ends to reward ourselves an the ones we reach out while destroying the “unbeatable” virus.HIV
    visit an prove yourself worthy of this challenge nature has imposed on us.