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Examining Implications Of U.S. ‘Anti-Prostitution Pledge’

“Recently, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding what is widely known as the ‘anti-prostitution pledge,’ a requirement that organizations receiving government money for overseas disease-prevention work adopt policies opposing prostitution and sex trafficking,” Mie Lewis, a staff attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, writes in an analysis on RH Reality Check. “As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) set out in a prior friend-of-the-court brief, the pledge has taken a concrete toll, visible in its impact on overseas health organizations which, unlike their U.S. counterparts, have been subject to the pledge requirement all along,” she notes, adding, “If the Supreme Court sides with the government, and United States-based health organizations are also subject to the pledge, the human cost will undoubtedly climb.” She continues, “The second way in which the pledge is unprecedented and dangerous is that, far from merely requiring organizations hired by the government to convey a governmental message (think ‘Just Say No to Drugs’), it would operate as a kind of ideological screening that would disqualify organizations that may not share the government’s view but are perfectly capable of carrying out the funded work” (5/6).