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Letters & Op-Eds - 2008

New york times

AIDS Plan Is Lacking

Jon O'Brien

2 August 2008

To the Editor:

“House Passes Broader Plan to Fight AIDS” (news article, July 25) highlights many of the positive elements that are included in a recent financing increase to fight H.I.V. and AIDS around the world. But it doesn’t mention any of the negatives, which are considerable. American taxpayers need to know that as a result of lobbying by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and a compliant Congress, several vital measures that would have saved hundreds if not thousands of lives are not in the bill.

 

For example, the bishops lobbied hard against vital family planning services that can prevent mother-to-child transmission of H.I.V. and AIDS and in favor of the retention of an anti-prostitution pledge, further marginalizing an extremely at-risk group. Catholics in the United States and elsewhere support aid for international family planning and H.I.V.-AIDS prevention programs.

Studies show that properly directed financing for international family planning programs saves women’s lives and the lives of their children when those women have H.I.V. or AIDS. The bishops ignored this evidence to ensure that their own narrow, out-of-the-mainstream beliefs held sway on Capitol Hill.

 

Jon O’Brien

President, Catholics for Choice

Washington, July 25, 2008

This letter originally appeared in the New York Times on August 2, 2008.