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CNSNews brings us a story where the International Planned Parenthood Federation has published a guide that encourages HIV-infected youth to have sex, not tell their sexual partners they are infected, and denounces laws requiring persons with sexually transmitted diseases to tell their sexual partners or face criminal charges.

Planned Parenthood Guide Tells HIV-Infected Youth to Enjoy Sex, Denounces Laws on Disclosure of HIV/AIDS to Sexual Partners

Friday, April 09, 2010
By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) – In a guide for young people published by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the organization says it opposes laws that make it a crime for people not to tell sexual partners they have HIV. The IPPF’s “Healthy, Happy and Hot” guide also tells young people who have the virus that they have a right to “fun, happy and sexually fulfilling lives.”

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

“Some countries have laws that say people living with HIV must tell their sexual partner(s) about their status before having sex, even if they use condoms or only engage in sexual activity with a low risk of giving HIV to someone else,” the guide states. “These laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.”

Under the heading “Sexual Pleasure and Well-Being,” the guide declares that it is a human right and not a criminal issue as to whether a person decides if or when to disclose their HIV status, even if they engage in sexual activities.

“You know best when it is safe for you to disclose your status,” the guide states. “There are many reasons that people do not share their HIV status. They may not want people to know they are living with HIV because of the stigma and discrimination within their community.”

The guide continues: “They may worry that people will find out something else they have kept secret, like that they are using injecting drugs or, having sex outside of marriage or having sex with people of the same gender. People in long-term relationships who find out they are living with HIV sometime fear that their partner will react violently or end the relationship.”

“Young people living with HIV have the right to sexual pleasure,” the guide states under the heading “Sexual Pleasure; Have Fun Explore and Be Yourself.”

“Sex can feel great and can be really fun!” the guide says. “Many people think sex is just about vaginal and anal intercourse …. But, there are lots of different ways to have sex and lots of different types of sex.”

“Sex can include kissing, touching, licking, tickling, sucking and cuddling,” the guide states. “Some people like aggressive sex, while others like to have soft and slow sex with their partners (sic).”

“It’s a vile and vulgar brochure,” Austin Ruse, president of the United Nations watchdog group Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, told CNSNews.com.

Ruse’s group has been reporting on the “Healthy, Happy and Hot” guide in recent weeks after Sharon Slater, president of Family Watch International, attended an event for the U.N.’s Commission on the Status of Women and found copies of the guide in a room where Girl Scouts were meeting.

The Girls Scouts of the USA released a statement denying they were distributing the guides and suggesting the guides may already have been in the room they were using.

Ruse said that aside from the graphic promotion of sex for young people with HIV, the guide also falsely claims that there are international laws to protect their “human rights.”

“There is no such international right that says that you are not required to reveal your HIV status before having sex,” Ruse said. “There’s no such thing.”

“It is a flat-out lie to say otherwise, and in this brochure it is lies from stem to stern,” he said.

Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, told CNSNews.com:  “To the extent that ‘sexual rights’ and ‘reproductive rights’ are mentioned in documents of the U.N. or other international agencies, even informally, these terms often have a meaning contrary to that which IPPF gives them. For example, ‘sexual rights’ usually means the right to say NO to unwanted or coerced sex — not a right to HAVE sex under almost any circumstances.”

“By the same token, ‘reproductive rights’  usually involve the right to have children — not the right to destroy them through abortion,” Sprigg said, adding that laws requiring people to disclose to sexual partners that they have HIV protect people and promote sexual health.

IPPF defends its position, saying laws aimed at people with HIV hurt efforts to prevent the spread of the disease and discriminate unfairly against people who have the virus.

“Punitive laws that criminalise HIV transmission will jeopardise global HIV prevention efforts by acting as a disincentive for knowing one’s HIV status and by incorrectly placing an undue burden of responsibility for all safe sex behaviour on people living with HIV (who in many societies are already marginalised and stigmatised),” Kevin Osborne, IPPF senior advisor on HIV told CNSNews.com. “Alternatives to the criminal law must be used to foster increased HIV prevention efforts and behaviours.”

The guide also makes a plug for Planned Parenthood’s profitable “reproductive services.”

“Your local family planning clinic can help you create a plan, whether it is for having children safely, preventing or terminating unplanned pregnancies, or figuring out how to start a family if you are single or in a same-sex relationship,” the guide states.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America receives more than $350 million of taxpayer funding annually, although federal law prohibits those funds from being used for abortion.

In his early days in office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order reversing the Mexico City Policy that prohibited the use of taxpayer funds to promote or provide abortions abroad, opening the way for U.S.-funded abortions around the world.

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CNSNews has a story with letters from census workers that describe what they’re actually doing and getting paid for.

True Confessions from America’s Census Workers

Wednesday, April 07, 2010
By Michelle Malkin
Listen to Commentary Podcasts

President Obama’s politicized, profligate U.S. census drive is so desperate for positive press that it has now recruited former Bush senior adviser Karl Rove to do public service announcements.

Rove pleads on video: “Please answer the 10 easy questions. They’re almost the same ones Madison helped write for the first census back in 1790.” Message: If you don’t join the census bandwagon, James Madison will have lost!

Sorry, Mr. Rove. Playing the Founding Fathers card isn’t going to quell conservative criticism of how the Obama administration has exploited the census boondoggle for both economic and ideological gain.

For the record, I have no beef with the constitutional mandate. I complied by filling out my census form and sending it back—with “American” in the blank for race/ethnicity to register my opposition to government racial classifications.

Despite apocalyptic suggestions by census officials and some Republican politicians that conservatives are recklessly boycotting the decennial head count, analysis by both the right-leaning Daily Caller and left-leaning Plum Line websites shows that return rates from conservative counties are in line with national averages.

So, what makes the Obama census campaign different from other census programs? First, its naked, left-wing special interest pandering. The White House is championing a “Queer the Census” movement by pro-gay marriage groups, for example, and the Commerce Department is working with open-borders leaders who want to use the census as leverage to stop all immigration raids.

The electoral stakes are high. Some $400 billion in federal funding and, most importantly, the apportionment of congressional seats are up for grabs. Instead of straightforward enumeration of the American population, Obama and the left’s identity politics-mongers are turning the $1 billion, taxpayer-subsidized census public relations drive into a government preferences lobbying bonanza.

More galling: the White House manipulation of census worker employment to goose the jobless rate. Last week, the government touted employment figures bolstered by the hiring of temporary workers for Census 2010. The Census Bureau anticipates it may add nearly 750,000 workers to its payroll by May. Liberal economist Heidi Shierholz exulted in The Hill: “This is the best-timed census you could ever dream of.” And Team Obama plans to milk it for all it’s worth.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve received e-mails from census workers across the country describing the directive from their managers to slow down, stall, waste time and stretch out their work unnecessarily. As a counter-public service announcement, I’m reprinting some of their letters:

— “…I have been working with the census for two weeks, and every day I shake my head at the blatant inefficiency and deliberate misuse of taxpayer money. Specifically, we have been doing enumeration for those who do not have a home, the homeless in shelters, soup kitchens and in targeted non-sheltered outdoor locations, such as parks, subway stations, etc. I personally have been sent to check on shelters that were already determined to be day programs during the preceding round of quality control, yet they pay me the mileage and hourly wage to go back and make sure that they are still only day programs. I walked through parks and parking lots looking for homeless people to enumerate, not even by talking to them, but just by observing their race, sex and approximate age. …

“…The way the process has been set up by government bureaucracy is so backward and prevents a person who is industrious and efficient from being able to work freely… This is the first job where I am encouraged to be slow and inefficient.”

— “Last summer I participated in the ‘address canvassing’ (AC) project. What this entailed was walking around a neighborhood, literally door to door, with a little handheld computer. My job was not to enter addresses so that these people could receive their form, but to make sure that the addresses that the first wave of people put into the system and appeared on the computer were actually there… Mostly, it was me getting paid $15.25/hour plus mileage to take my dog for a walk and push a few buttons.

“In an average suburban neighborhood where the houses are somewhat close to each other, it was no problem to do about 35 to 40 addresses per hour once you learned how to quickly enter data into the computer. The census said that I should be doing about 12 to 15 per hour. My direct bosses told me that I should NOT be doing 35 to 40, because it was making them and other people look bad. So instead of walking at a snail’s pace, I just did my 35 to 40/hour and doubled my time when I submitted my hours. Again, sorry for the tax dollar grab, but I was told not to be so darned efficient or else I’d be cut!”

— “I had the great pleasure of working for the address canvassing last spring. I was hired in early April for a job that was to be completed by the first week of July. I have a military background and a background in human resources, and the whole process left me with blood squirting from my eyes… I worked in the field for four days so that I would know what to do. The remainder of my time was spent sitting in a McDonald’s to have a daily progress meeting with each of the enumerators. I was paid from the time I left my house to the time I got home … plus mileage. I was told to pad the time or mileage to cover my McDonald’s food, since I was camping in a booth all day. For all that, I was paid $11.75 an hour. …We had a really good crew and were done by the second week of May… Philadelphia was going nuts because our region was getting done so fast, but there was nothing we could do to slow it down another two months.

“… I never saw such a mismanaged outfit in all my life. I just shook my head in total disbelief. Our work could have been done with half the people. We did have those that quit right after training, to the tune of $800 spent on nothing. I earned approximately $3,000. I will say, to be quite honest, it was the easiest money I ever made. On the exit interview, I was asked if I wanted to be called back for further work. I wrote ‘NO’ in big letters. I didn’t want to take any further part in what I saw to be a racket.”

What would Madison think now?

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CNSNews tells us that Rhode Island’s PUC bypassed an opportunity to purchase power from a proposed wind farm because it would be too expensive, 3x the cost of other energy sources.  This is part of the core problem with “green” technology, it’s too inefficient and too expensive.  With the Democrat’s socialist agenda on the rise, adapting such technologies now without giving them time to develop (read: cap-and-trade) would only seek to further the burden American taxpayers in a time when our economy is weakened and our Socialist overlords have just burdened us with European-style health care.

Too Expensive: Wind Power Contract Rejected by R.I. Public Utilities Commission

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
By Susan Jones, Senior Editor

(CNSNews.com) – The R.I. Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday rejected a contract that would have allowed Rhode Island’s largest electric utility to buy power from a wind farm that’s planned for the waters off the R.I. coast. It would have been the first project of its kind in the United States, the Providence Journal reported.

The three-member commission voted unanimously against the power-purchase agreement, saying the price of power agreed to by the two sides was too high and that the overall deal was not “commercially reasonable.”

According to the Providence Journal, “The crux of the proposed agreement was a sale price of 24.4 cents per kilowatt hour, nearly three times the price National Grid pays for energy from fossil-fuel fired power plants and nuclear facilities. Over the 20-year contract, the price would have escalated by 3.5 percent annually, so, by the final year, it would have been 48.6 cents per kilowatt hour. Combined with a 2.75-percent markup on clean energy that National Grid was allowed by Rhode Island law, it would have meant hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs to the state’s 480,000 ratepayers over two decades.”

Read report from Providence Journal and see Newspaper Roundup

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CNSNews has this story.  Instead of sticking to his (apparent) principles, Rep. Stupak folded into pressure from his fellow demons Democrats and voted for H.R. 3590 because Obama promised to sign an executive order affirming the ban of federal dollars funding abortions.  The problem with this is that federal law can override executive orders (the “law” isn’t permanent), and they can be rescinded at any time by the President.  Obama also promised to be more transparent and to change the way politics were conducted in Washington, D.C.  We’ve all seen how well that has gone.

Stupak Decision Blasted As ‘Unconscionable’

Monday, March 22, 2010
By Susan Jones, Senior Editor

(CNSNews.com) – Pro-life activists call it “regrettable” that Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) ended up abandoning those who stood by him in his opposition to taxpayer funding of abortion in the Democrats’ health care bill.

Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org, said Stupak’s decision to accept the promise of a presidential executive order as a solution to the abortion-funding issue is “unconscionable.”

“The Executive Order fix is a band-aid solution that fails to solve the fundamental problems in this bill, and can be repealed at any time, for any reason, by the president or future presidents. The order is likely to be challenged by pro-abortion groups, and could be struck down by the courts,” Burch said in a news release issued Sunday night.

“The Catholic Bishops along with CatholicVote.org and every major pro-life organization oppose this ‘fix.’  We have defended Rep. Stupak for months, but today we stand in protest of his decision,” Burch added.

Stupak’s last-minute decision to vote in support of the health care bill he opposed for so long made all the difference in Democrats’ getting enough votes for passage.

“Since I was first elected to Congress I have fought to provide quality, affordable health care for all Americans and I am proud to be able to vote for this historic legislation,” Stupak said Sunday in a message posted on his Web site. He said he’s witnessed the struggles that families and employers in his northern Michigan congressional district face under the current system.

“Although this legislation is not perfect and does not do everything I believe is necessary to reform our health insurance industry, it is a tremendous step forward for northern Michigan residents and for our nation,” Stupak said.  He said he looks forward to the president signing the health care bill into law.

Stupak has insisted from the beginning that no federal funding be used to subsidize insurance plans that cover abortion. Abortion should not be recognized as a benefit in federal health plans, he said.

To mollify Stupak, President Obama announced he would sign an Executive Order reaffirming that the Hyde amendment can not be circumvented and that no taxpayer dollars would be used to pay for health plans that cover abortion.

“I have said from the start I would not vote for health care reform without adequate protections in place to make sure the current law of no federal funding for abortion is maintained,” Stupak said on Sunday.  “The president’s Executive Order upholds the principle that federal funds should not be used to subsidize abortion coverage.”

President Obama promised to sign the Executive Order following passage of H.R. 3590.

But pro-life activists say the Executive Order on abortion funding will further politicize the issue. It will put decisions on taxpayer funding for abortion as well as conscience protections in the hands of Obama, future presidents, and Health and Human Services Secrtary Kathleen Sebelius, Burch said.

“Catholics have worked hard to make the protection of the unborn a two-party effort, and pro-life members of the Democratic Party encouraged these efforts over the last year, Burch noted. He said Stupak’s decision to accept an Executive Order “will be difficult to overcome.”

“We are convinced Rep. Stupak will come to deeply regret today’s decision,” Burch said.

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CNSNews has two different stories here and here saying that the lawsuits against the U.S. Government are about to begin as soon as Obama signs the health care legislation (H.R. 3590) into law.  The lawsuits are an attempt by States and other agencies to strike down the required health care insurance law in the latest bill.

Update (1/22 @13:29): Reuters reports that 11 Attorneys General are geared to sue the Government after it is signed.  The full story is at the bottom.

Health Care Legislation: Here Come the Lawsuits

Monday, March 22, 2010
By Susan Jones, Senior Editor

(CNSNews.com) – The American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative civil liberties group, says it is preparing to file a federal lawsuit challenging the “flawed” health care package that passed the House 219-212 on Sunday night.

The law “fails the American people and does not provide permanent protections for the life of the unborn,” the group said in a Sunday night news release.

The ACLJ said it would file a lawsuit “soon” in federal court, challenging the forced mandate that penalizes Americans who choose not to participate in universal health care. “That is unconstitutional, and we believe ultimately it will be overturned by the courts,” it said.

“The fact remains that the actual health care bill just approved does fund abortion,” ACLJ said.

“Those self-proclaimed pro-life Democrats put their trust in an executive order — subject to being rescinded by the president — a move that is not only short-sighted but does not provide the guarantees and pro-life protections secured by statutory language in a law approved by Congress.”

Which President Obama do you believe? ACLJ asked: The president who repeatedly and publicly opposed the pro-life language in the earlier House-passed bill, or the president who now promises an Executive Order to secure the votes he needed to pass a very dangerous health care package?

ACLJ noted that an executive order “is not a legislative fix and does not carry the force of congressionally approved legislation.  It does not supersede law.  It can be rescinded.”

Another concern, the group said, is that the executive order promised by President Obama will put Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in charge of the funding process – and she is a cabinet member “who has a long and documented history of supporting abortion.”

also:

Virginia Is First to Announce Lawsuit Over Health-Care Bill

Monday, March 22, 2010
By Bob Lewis, Associated Press

Richmond, Va. (AP) – Less than eight hours after Congress passed sweeping healthcare reforms, Virginia’s Attorney General became the first to announce a legal challenge against it.

Republican Ken Cuccinelli said early Monday that he will file a court challenge against what he and other conservatives decry as an unconstitutional overreach of federal authority.

Cuccinelli said he would file the lawsuit as soon as President Barack Obama signs the bill passed Sunday night into law.

Earlier this month, Virginia became the first state to finish legislative passage of a law that bucks any effort by President Barack Obama and an allied Democratic Congress to impose federal health care reform in the states.

Similar measures were filed or proposed in 34 other state legislatures.

Cuccinelli is expected to argue that the bill, with its mandate that requires nearly every American to be insured by 2014, violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The attorney general’s office will file suit once President Barack Obama signs the bill into law, which could occur early this week.

“At no time in our history has the government mandated its citizens buy a good or service,” Cuccinelli said in a statement Sunday night.

Word of the impending legal action came as the U.S. House debated late into the evening and passed the landmark reform legislation, 219-212.

Update from Reuters:

States launch lawsuits against healthcare plan

CHICAGO
Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:21pm EDT
Opponents of the proposed U.S. health care bill are pictured  during a rally outside the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, March  21, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Reed

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Less than 24 hours after the House of Representatives gave final approval to a sweeping overhaul of healthcare, attorneys general from several states on Monday said they will sue to block the plan on constitutional grounds.

Republican attorneys general in 11 states warned that lawsuits will be filed to stop the federal government overstepping its constitutional powers and usurping states’ sovereignty.

States are concerned the burden of providing healthcare will fall on them without enough federal support.

Ten of the attorneys general plan to band together in a collective lawsuit on behalf of Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

“To protect all Texans’ constitutional rights, preserve the constitutional framework intended by our nation’s founders, and defend our state from further infringement by the federal government, the State of Texas and other states will legally challenge the federal health care legislation,” said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, in a statement.

The Republican attorney generals say the reforms infringe on state powers under the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, who plans to file a lawsuit in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, said Congress lacks authority under its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce to force people to buy insurance. The bill also conflicts with a state law that says Virginians cannot be required to buy insurance, he added.

“If a person decides not to buy health insurance, that person by definition is not engaging in commerce,” Cuccinelli said in recorded comments. “If you are not engaging in commerce, how can the federal government regulate you?”

In addition to the pending lawsuits, bills and resolutions have been introduced in at least 36 state legislatures seeking to limit or oppose various aspects of the reform plan through laws or state constitutional amendments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

So far, only two states, Idaho and Virginia, have enacted laws, while an Arizona constitutional amendment is seeking voter approval on the November ballot. But the actual enactment of the bill by President Barack Obama could spur more movement on the measures by state lawmakers.

As is the case on the Congressional level, partisan politics is in play on the state level, where no anti-health care reform legislation has emerged in Democrat-dominated states like Illinois and New York, according to the NCSL.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican candidate running for governor, said the mandate would cost Florida at least $1.6 billion in Medicaid alone.

All states would receive extra funding to cover Medicaid costs that are expected to rise under the reform, including 100 percent federal coverage for new enrollees under the plan through 2016.

Medicaid is the healthcare program for the poor jointly administered by the states and federal government.

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CNSNews brings us a report explaining that a new study conducted in Chile finds that the pro-abortionist’s arguments that banning abortions will lead to more maternal deaths is false, cutting one if their greatest counterpoints to banning abortions.  In fact, the study finds that maternal deaths decreased after abortions were banned.

Abortion Ban Does Not Mean More Maternal Deaths, Chilean Study Finds

Tuesday, March 02, 2010
By Karen Schuberg

(CNSNews.com) – Initial findings by a prominent biomedical researcher which examines the drastic drop in maternal deaths in the last 50 years in Chile challenges the claim made by global abortion lobbyists that broad abortion laws are necessary to guard women’s health.

“This study provides evidence that the legal status of the therapeutic abortion is not related with maternal mortality reduction. Moreover, after abortion was prohibited, an additional reduction in maternal and abortion mortality was observed in Chile,” Dr. Elard Koch, an epidemiologist on the faculty of medicine at the University of Chile, said in an e-mail to CNSNews.com.

Illegal abortions do not necessarily correlate with unsafe abortions, Koch continued.

“Although (it) is frequently considered that illegal abortion is related with ‘unsafe abortion’—especially in developing countries with restrictive abortion laws, our preliminary findings suggest that although in Chile abortion is fully clandestine, it occurs in very low-risk sanitary conditions,” Koch explained.

Koch said that education and improved health care access appear to fuel the decrease in maternal deaths in Chile.

“The increasing education level appears as the most important factor predicting maternal mortality reduction in this developing country, likely influencing other factors such as reproductive behavior (fertility rate) and maternal health facilities,” Koch said.

To assess if legal abortion is associated with lower rates of maternal deaths in Chile, Koch examined vital statistics data for maternal deaths from 1960 to 2007.

“Historically, an active epidemiological surveillance in maternal mortality has been carried out in Chile, including deaths by abortion,” Koch said.

Abortion was legal in this Latin American country until 1989 when it was completely outlawed. Abortion was legal from 1931 to 1988.

Koch observed that maternal mortality peaked in 1961, abortion causing 34% of maternal deaths. From 1960 to 2007, total reduction in maternal mortality rates equaled 97.9% – regardless of whether or not abortion was legal.

“The present study provides preliminary evidence that indicates that in Chile, the elimination of therapeutic abortion did not translate into increases in maternal mortality.  Thus, access to legal abortion does not appear to be necessary to achieve low rates of maternal deaths,” Koch said.

Koch added that the association between poor education and high maternal mortality should be studied further.

Dr. Susan Yoshihara, vice president for research at Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), told CNSNews.com that Koch’s study is significant because global abortion lobbyists equate illegal abortion with unsafe abortion and claim maternal deaths would decline with liberal abortion laws.

“(Global abortion lobbyists claim) illegal abortion, or unsafe abortion, is causing a certain number of deaths—anywhere between 13,000 and 80,000 a year in the world—and therefore, abortion has to be legalized in order to make it safe. And (they claim) that will save women’s lives,” Yoshihara said.

Yoshihara called the data which abortion supporters cite to make that claim “unsubstantiated” and “unverifiable.”

Yoshihara called the Chilean study “very exciting” because though preliminary, its data is “outstanding,” setting it apart from other studies on maternal mortality rates in developing countries.

“This study is remarkable because Chile, although it is considered a developing country, has outstanding maternal health data dating all the way back to the beginning of the 1900s,” Yoshihara said.

Because this study shows a steady decline in abortion after 1961, it undercuts the abortion lobbyists’ claim that liberal abortion laws are needed to protect women’s health, Yoshihara said.

“And it’s pretty clear that maternal mortality decreased whether or not abortion was legal in that country,” she added.

Yoshihara said both sides of the abortion debate agree that there is a dearth of reliable data on maternal mortality rates in developing countries.

“The reason for that is that the developing world doesn’t keep good records,” she said, explaining, “It’s very rural, (and) they don’t have good health infrastructures.”

Yoshihara said that to make claims based on weak data is unreasonable because “we all know you just can’t get that kind of good data in the developing world.”

She predicted that Koch’s study will be published this year.

Last September, Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion access, said in a report titled “Estimates of Health Care System Costs of Unsafe Abortion in Africa and Latin America” that 19 million unsafe abortions occur each year in developing countries, resulting in approximately 5 million women treated for “serious medical complications.”

The study concludes that the costs of treating medical complications from unsafe abortions significantly burden the public health care systems of the developing world and that post-abortion injuries “are a significant cause of maternal morbidity.”

In a report from last October, Guttmacher Institute President Dr. Sharon Camp states, “Legal restrictions do not stop abortion from happening, they just make the procedure dangerous. Too many women are maimed or killed each year because they lack legal abortion access.”

The report, titled “Abortion and Unintended Pregnancy Decline Worldwide as Contraceptive Use Increases, But Progress Over Past Decade Has Been Uneven, and Unsafe Abortion Remains a Key Challenge to Women’s Health,” also states, “Unsafe abortion causes an estimated 70,000 deaths each year, and an additional five million women are treated annually for complications resulting from unsafe abortion. Approximately three million women who experience serious complications from unsafe procedures go untreated.”

Guttmacher Institute Communications Associate Rebecca Wind declined to comment on the initial findings of Koch’s study.

“(Chile) is not a country we have expertise in, so it’s not something we would comment on,” Wind said.
Koch presented his preliminary findings at the inaugural meeting of Women and Children First: International Working Group for Global Women’s Health Research last January in Washington, D.C.

A consortium of region specific working groups,  Women and Children First  brings together maternal health researchers from the United States, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Lithuania, France and several other nations to address the critical need for evidence-based research on maternal mortality causality and methods to decrease maternal mortality.

————-

ABSTRACT FROM KOCH’S STUDY

Is there an association between maternal mortality reduction and abortion legalization? Preliminary data from time series analyses in Chile, 1960 – 2007.

Elard Koch1 on behalf of The Chilean Maternal Mortality Group
1Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile.

Background: Nowadays, the impact of abortion prohibition on maternal mortality trends in developing countries is unknown. Chile offers the opportunity for assessing the impact of different factors related with maternal mortality reduction, including two periods before and after abortion was prohibited in this Latin American country.

Methods: Time series of maternal mortality ratio (MMR) and abortion mortality ratio (AMR) from 1960 to 2007 were analyzed using multiple autoregressive moving average (ARIMA) models. Therapeutic abortion was legal until 1989 and was considered as a dummy variable in statistical analyses along time series of social and demographic factors and maternal health facilities.

Results: During the study period, MMR decreased from 293.7 to 18.2 per 100,000 live births (-93.8%); AMR decreased form 92.5 to 1.7 per 100,000 live births (-98.1%). No significant effect of legal and illegal abortion periods on these decreasing trends was observed in ARIMA models. After abortion was fully prohibited, MMR and AMR decreased from 41.3 to 18.2 (-44.1%) and 16.5 to 1.7 (-10.3%) per 100,000 live births respectively. The average of education years, illiteracy rate, GDP per-capita, and the percentage of delivery by skilled attendants were all significant predictors of MMR. The same factors along decreasing fertility rate were significant predictors of AMR trends.

Conclusions: Reductions in MMR and AMR are not related with legal/illegal therapeutic abortion periods in Chile. The increasing education level appears as the most important factor predicting maternal mortality reduction in this developing country, likely influencing other factors such as fertility and maternal health facilities.

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CNSNews brings us a story revealing that the White House is considering adopting a policy that would require bidders of Government contracts to meet certain wage and benefits requirements, favoring unions and crippling opportunities of small businesses.  It has already been shown that unions foster decreased productivity and stifle growth.

In Nod to Labor Unions, White House May Require ‘Living Wage’ in Government Contracts

Friday, February 26, 2010
By Sam Hananel, Associated Press

Washington (AP) – The White House is looking at a new policy that would give an advantage in bidding on government contracts to companies that offer generous benefits and good pay.

But business groups opposing the idea maintain it would shut out smaller businesses from competing for more than $500 billion a year in federal contracts and increase government procurement costs.

The policy is known as “high road” contracting, and it could draw the Obama administration into a larger debate over whether the government should use public purse strings to strengthen the middle class and promote higher labor standards.

Advocates of the plan include unions. They say too many jobs financed by government contracts come with low wages and limited benefits and support companies that violate employment laws.

The Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank, estimates that nearly 20 percent of the 2 million federal contract workers in the U.S. earn less than the poverty threshold wage of $9.91 per hour. As many as 22 million workers are employed by federal contractors.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show the plan under consideration would examine the wages and benefits — such as health insurance, retirement benefits and paid leave — a company pays its employees as a factor in the contract award process.

Another factor would be whether a contract bidder is a repeat violator of labor and employment laws. Businesses with legal violations are already supposed to be restricted under current contracting rules, but the new policy would create a better system for tracking those companies.

A Labor Department compliance office would compile a score on contract bidders based on the new criteria.

The White House’s consideration of the new policy was first reported earlier this month on the political Web site Daily Caller.

Earlier this month, a group of four Republican senators led by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine wrote a letter to Budget Director Peter Orszag arguing that imposing such a policy could increase the cost of federal contracting and hurt small businesses.

“These small businesses could choose not to compete for federal contracts, undermining the diversity of the federal contracting base and lessening competitive pressure on larger federal contractors,” the lawmakers wrote.

The U.S Chamber of Commerce goes further, calling the policy a payback to labor unions. Unionized companies that already pay workers higher average wages and offer better health and retirement benefits would be in a better position to compete with nonunion contractors.

“This is an attempt by the unions to force their policy agenda on a wide swath of the economy by rigging the government procurement process,” said Glenn Spencer, executive director of the Chamber’s Workforce Freedom Initiative.

David Madland, director of the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, said there is evidence that better-paid workers are more efficient and productive. Local governments with similar plans found raising standards increased competition because more companies are willing to bid on government contracts, he said.

Madland said raising labor standards and wages also saves taxpayers from hidden costs when employers pay so little that their workers rely on publicly funded health insurance and other safety net programs.

In 2007, Maryland became the first state to adopt a living wage law that requires state contractors to pay a minimum salary to workers. More than 100 other cities and counties have adopted similar mandates. By contrast, the federal “high road” policy would not require the government to prefer companies with higher wages — it would be one factor among other criteria.

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