August 27, 2003
However, the State Department decision has "raised a furor" among AIDS and refugee groups, who say that they are concerned that the State Department is "bowing to pressure from antiabortion factions" within the Bush administration and "allowing politics to interfere" with important AIDS programs, according to the Times. The State Department denies the allegations. The State Department official said that the HIV/AIDS program, which is run by a consortium of seven groups known as the Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium -- which includes Marie Stopes, the International Rescue Committee, CARE, the American Refugee Committee, the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, John Snow International and Columbia University's Department of Population and Family Health -- does "good work" and is "very useful." The program provides AIDS counseling and supports health care services for thousands of individuals in several countries, including Angola, Congo, Rwanda and Eritrea. Following the withdrawal of the group's funding, the State Department gave the program $1 million to pay for its first year and said that it would continue to fund the six other groups involved in the project if they agreed to end their partnership with Marie Stopes, the Times reports. The consortium refused the State Department offer, saying that they would not end ties with the group over "baseless allegations." A State Department official said, "We were disappointed that for reasons of solidarity with Marie Stopes that they should refuse our money. We had hoped they would show more humanitarian statesmanship than that" (New York Times, 8/27).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2003 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.