The debt-ceiling fight has been the dominant story out of
Washington for weeks, and for the most part the White House hasn't looked too
good. But in the last few days, the administration has taken some serious steps
forward on other fronts.
A rise in contraceptive use has led to a decline in unwanted pregnancies and consequently a decline in abortions worldwide—from 45.5 million procedures in 1995 to 41.6 million in 2003, according to a study released by the Guttmacher Institute.
In March, when Pope Benedict XVI, on a flight to Cameroon, declared that the use of condoms is not the answer to the AIDS epidemic in Africa—that, on the contrary, it “increases the problem”—I thought immediately of Francis Ntowe. I met Ntowe years ago when he came to the U.S. from Cameroon. He became an elder in the Presbyterian Church.
During a weeklong visit to Africa in March, Pope Benedict XVI told journalists accompanying him on the papal plane to Cameroon that making condoms widely available “increased the problem” of AIDS. The remark, similar to the Vatican’s longstanding emphasis on sexual abstinence, revived controversy over how best to stem the global AIDS epidemic that has devastated sub-Saharan Africa.
Restrictions on contraceptives and abortion referrals
Feb 10, 2009
The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the federal government, charging that it allows the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to use taxpayer dollars to impose its religious doctrines on victims of human trafficking.
People who have knowledge of and access to contraceptives tend to have fewer unwanted pregnancies and therefore fewer abortions. It’s no accident that the world’s lowest abortion rates are found in Belgium and the Netherlands, where contraception is widely available, or that the highest rates are in Cuba and Vietnam, where access is limited.
After a three-year fight, the Bush administration signaled that it may be ready to reverse course and approve over-the-counter sales of an emergency contraceptive pill despite strong opposition from the religious right.