Culture of Death is a dramatic moniker, but it is after all truly apt. The Christian Right, George Bush, Tom DeLay, et. al. are pushing policies that kill people, not just in war, but in peace. They kill the meek and the humble and the sick and the hungry.
On April 8, 2005 Barbara Boxer, D-California introduced an amendment to a bill currently in front of the Senate which would lift the "global gag rule" against funding clinics associated in some way with abortions. This bill is cosponsored by Republican Senator Olympia Snow of Maine. Eight Republicans supported it so that it passed in the Senate, 52-46. Ms Boxer attached a similar amendment two years ago which also was passed by the Senate. It died in the House. If it should by some miracle pass in the house, the President has, of course, promised to veto it.
The Bush Administration and the Republican Congress are now moving to establish a rule similar in intent to the "global gag rule," this time against needle exchanges in the struggle against the spread of AIDS. In an editorial in the NYTimes published February 26, 2005, the Times reports that "While Washington does not buy syringes for needle-exchange programs, it does give money to groups that use other people's money to administer needle exchanges....The asistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement, Robert Charles, warned the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the joint program Unaids, that the organization should not work on needle-exchange issues and should remove positive references from its web site, which it did.
Needle exchanges do assist in preventing the spread of AIDS. They do not encourage drug use. Republicans have used, according to this editorial, grossly inaccurate charts to push their position.
Needle exchanges are especially valueable in parts of Asia, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
Opponents argue that needle exchange "muddies the message that illegal drug use is unacceptable, and keeps drug abusers from suffering the consequences of their addiction." As The Times points out, by this logic, doctors should refuse to treat lung cancer in smokers.
The editorial concludes, "Washington's antipathy toward needle exchanges is a triumph of ideology over science, logic and compassion. The United States should help pay for these important programs, If it cannot bring itself to do so, it should at least allow the rest of the world to get on with saving millions of lives."
Here in San Antonio, the local affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundations has received calls and e-mails from anti-choice activists "pressuring Komen to end support for Planned Parenthood's Habla Con Tu Hermana breast health education programs. The folks at comen have pledged "full support of Planned Parenthood." You can read more about this at www.ppaction.org/pptx/
I've added a new typelist, called Bad Guys -- somewhat less familiar members of the Bush Culture of Death who have a lot to do with developing and promoting Culture of Death policies. Only three so far, but that is only due to a my need to stop writing now.