From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Church agency joins groups asking Bush to release funds

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Thu, 27 Jun 2002 14:28:34 -0500

June 27, 2002        News media contact: Joretta Purdue7(202)
546-87227Washington     10-21-71B{273}

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The advocacy agency of the United Methodist Church is
among 25 nongovernmental organizations asking President Bush to release
funds designated for United Nations world health and population efforts in
the current budget.

A June 24 letter, signed by the United Methodist Board of Church and
Society, asks the president to release the full fiscal year 2002
appropriation of $34 million for the U.N. Population Fund. The groups
reminded Bush that Congress reached a strong bipartisan agreement on the
fund and he signed it into law.

"The fund is the lead global agency providing voluntary family planning,
pregnancy and delivery care, and works to prevent the spread of sexually
transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, for some of the world's poorest
and most vulnerable people," the letter stated. It spoke of programs to
eradicate obstetric fistula, an injury not found in developed countries, and
to eliminate the practice of female genital mutilation that threatens more
than 2 million African girls every year.

An HIV-prevention program for war-affected people in Liberia and Sierra
Leone is being cut by $400,000 because of the freeze, the groups told the
president. They estimate that failure to release the funds could cause up to
2 million unwanted pregnancies, 800,000 induced abortions, 4,700 maternal
deaths, and 77,000 infant and child deaths.

Other organizations with representatives that signed the letter include the
U.S. Committee for the U.N. Population Fund, Presbyterian Church (USA),
Association of Reproductive Health Professions, Catholics for a Free Choice,
Republican Pro-Choice Coalition, Religious Coalition for Reproductive
Choice, National Council of Jewish Women, Population Institute, Population
Action International, and American College of Obstetricians and

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United Methodist News Service
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