Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues…

Trending on kff Subsidies Marketplaces Enrollment

Opinion: China Forced Abortions; U.S. Work In Africa; Foreign Aid; Uganda Legislation

Detroit
News Opinion Examines Forced Abortions In China
 

“One of the few incontrovertible assertions one can reasonably make is that no one supports forced abortion,” syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker writes in a Detroit News opinion piece that examines reports of “coerced abortions” and involuntary sterilizations in China. The piece examines the effects of “coercive family” planning on women in China, as two human rights organizations, ChinaAid and Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, described to Congressional members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission ahead of President Obama’s recent trip to Asia.

Parker also describes a conversation she had with Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of the Frontiers group, following the meeting with the commission. “Obviously, the United States is in an awkward position with China, our second-largest trading partner and the largest holder of our government debt,” Parker writes. “But Littlejohn hopes Obama will ‘truly represent American values, including our strong commitment to human rights.’ She is also calling on Planned Parenthood and NARAL to speak up for reproductive choice in China. In this much, both sides of the abortion issue can agree: Forced abortion is not a choice. Averting our gaze from China’s horrific abuse of women, is” (Parker, 11/23). 

Arizona
Republic Opinion Piece Examines Why U.S. Should ‘Bother’ With Africa

In an Arizona Republic opinion piece, Julie Sullivan, president and CEO of the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help, a non-profit working to eradicate disease and poverty in Africa, outlines the strategic and humanitarian reasons of why the U.S. should work to improve living conditions in Africa.

As Sullivan notes, “The continent is, of course, of strategic importance in terms of energy supply,” as well as “one of the battlegrounds in the fight against terrorism” and “the fight against HIV/AIDS.” Sullivan continues, “In humanitarian terms – although Africa may be the poorest, least developed and most suffering place on Earth – it is also a continent where positive change can and does happen. … The plight of our fellow human beings in Africa will have a long-term impact on the world’s future. Our prospects are intertwined” (Sullivan, 11/21).

New York Times Columnist Examines Debates Over Best Use Of Aid Money

Though “[t]he number of bleeding hearts has soared exponentially over the last decade. … they divided in a ferocious intellectual debate about how best to help poor people around the world,” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof writes in a New York Times book review that examines several books exploring this debate. Kristof writes of the viewpoint expressed in Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs’ book, “The End of Poverty,” that argues additional aid is needed to improve development, and that of “[t]he rival camp, led by William Easterly of New York University, which argues that more money doesn’t necessarily help, and may hurt,” as detailed in the book, “The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good.”

“If Sachs represents the Hegelian thesis and Easterly the antithesis, we now have hope of seeing an emerging synthesis,” Kristof writes. “It would acknowledge the shortcomings of aid, but also note some grand successes.” Kristof goes on to explore several other books, concluding, “In the 1960s, there were grand intellectual debates about whether capitalism was heroic or evil; today we simply worry about how to make it work. At last, we may be doing the same with foreign aid” (Kristof, 11/20).

Los Angeles
Times Op-Ed Calls For U.S. To Take Stand Against Uganda’s Proposed Anti-Homosexual Law

“In spite of all that [PEPFAR] has accomplished, … a persistent problem remains: the promotion of homophobia by African governments receiving American aid money,” James Kirchick, an assistant editor of the New Republic, writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece that examines how proposed legislation in Uganda could serve to undermine the country’s HIV-prevention efforts. “Because of conservative social mores and government repression, many are hesitant to come forward to get information regarding safe sexual practices,” Kirchick writes. “This bill could make the very discussion of condom use and HIV prevention for gay men illegal. By driving gays even further underground, such governmental homophobia only ensures that HIV will continue to spread unabated.”

Noting recent appeals for U.S. officials to voice their disproval of the anti-homosexuality bill, Kirchick continues: “From 2004 through 2008, Uganda received a total of $1.2 billion in PEPFAR money, and this year it is receiving $285 million more. Clearly, the United States has a great deal of leverage over the Ugandan government, and the American taxpayer should not be expected to fund a regime that targets a vulnerable minority for attack — an attack that will only render the vast amount of money that we have donated moot” (Kirchick, 11/20).