Roundup: McCain vs Obama on RH Issues, Family Planning in Egypt

Brady Swenson

Should pro-choice Clinton supporters risk voting for McCain?, Federal legislation needed on sex education, HIV positive men can safely father children, Egypt launches family planning initiative.

Reproductive Health Politics … There is a stark contrast between Barack Obama and John McCain on reproductive health issues which should mean we will have a healthy debate on the range of RH issues throughout the Fall campaign. One hot RH topic on the political scene right now is whether or not pro-choice Clinton supporters will move to Obama rather than McCain based mainly on RH issues such as access to abortion and comprehensive sexuality education. Froma Harrop argues today that Clinton supporters should not move to Obama over McCain on RH issues saying that McCain will probably not appoint conservative justices to replace liberals Stevens (88) and Ginsburg (75). She asserts that McCain is not committed to the anti-choice cause and is only pandering to the far right for political reasons during the campaign. Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report writes a great post in reply to Harrop, saying:

Harrop considers this and concludes that McCain’s voting record of
complete and total opposition to reproductive rights for nearly a
quarter century is insincere, and once in the White House, he’ll
suddenly transform into a moderate. This is sheer fantasy.

Meanwhile James Oliphant writes in the Chicago Tribune that the anti-choice movement has been increasingly moving its efforts to eliminate abortion rights from the federal to the local level anticipating a repeal of Roe should McCain be elected. If Roe were to fall the battle for abortion rights would fall back on the states where anti-choicers want to get a jump on organizing.

Improving Sex Education … Better sex education in our nation’s schools should be be an issue during the fall elections as well. As evidence mounts that abstinence-only education is failing to prepare America’s teens to make informed choices about sex pressure to provide more comprehensive sex education increases. Many schools, such as Lowell Middle School in Lowell, Massachusetts, may wish to provide more comprehensive curriculum to students but are forced to accept federal and state funds for sex education that can only be used to teach the abstinence-only curriculum.

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An interesting pilot program in Britain put a sexual health clinic in a high school has been deemed a big success in reaching students with advice and education about safe and healthy sex. The program made nurses and counsellors available for confidential consultations at the school and also provided free contraception for students.

HIV Positive Men Now Able to Safely Father Children … With proper medication and care people can now live long and healthy lives with HIV. Now men in California living with HIV who want to have biological children are able to have their sperm tested for the virus and new legislation in the state allows surrogacy agencies to use semen from someone with HIV for assisted reproduction.

Egypt Launching Family Planning Initiative … The Egyptian Minister of Health announced yesterday a 90 million USD family planning initiative to cope with overpopulation.

With the theme of "two children per family — a
chance for a better life", Tuesday’s meeting focused on the importance
of achieving balance between population and resources. In his address to the conference on
Monday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak termed overpopulation as a
"major challenge and fundamental obstacle" to development.



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