Budgets S$300M to Increase Birth Rate
Singapore launches national priority program to reverse the falling birth rate and to counter the ageing of the population. Baby-boosting program include housing grants for the married, cash payments of up to S$18,000.for birth of third or fourth child, baby care subsidies, tax rebates for working mothers, longer maternity leave and more leave days for working parents. more
legislators vow to block 2-child policy bill
“If people are sold out on the idea that we are overpopulated, we cannot win this war. The Philippines is not overpopulated, there are just some areas in the country that are overcrowded like Manila and other big cities,” Bullecer said. more
The American bishops, at a meeting in Washington in mid-June, ratified the refusal of Communion to politicians who support the right to abortion. The decision to refuse it will be the responsibility of each bishop in his diocese, in accordance with “ecclesiastical law and pastoral principles”. more
After years of successfully implementing its population control program, Singapore now faces the reality of severe baby shortage. It is now amending its Constitution to relax citizenship rules in order to boost population. And it is offering incentives for couples and female employees to encourage procreation. more
Failed for Not Providing Abortion Option
A medical student in his last year at the University of Manitoba Medical School will be denied his degree for his unwillingness to partake in any abortion-related activity. The Christian student, who wishes to remain unnamed, received a failing grade in an Obstetrics and Gynecology portion of his program for refusing to perform or refer for any abortive procedure. Three separate appeals to the Medical School have all failed to correct the matter. The failure stands despite the fact that the student has high grades in every area of study and strong words of affirmation from clinical supervisors. more
Institution Ordered to Pay for Contraception
California Supreme Court ruled that Catholic Charities of Sacramento Inc., a Roman Catholic charity, must offer birth-control coverage to its employees even though the Church considers contraception a sin.
The Supreme Court ruled that the charity is not a religious employer because it offers such secular services as counseling, low-income housing and immigration services to people of all faiths, without directly preaching Catholic values. Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar wrote that a "significant majority" of the people served by the charity are not Catholic. The court also noted that the charity employs workers of differing religions.
Beginning January 1, 2000, unless an institution met the very narrow definition of a religious organization, it could not purchase prescription drug coverage that did not contain contraceptives in its formulary. A “religious” employer is defined as an entity whose primary purpose is the inculcation of religious values, whose employees and clients share its religious tenets, and is a nonprofit organization according to certain state and federal tax codes. Catholic social services, Catholic health care and Catholic institutions of higher education were defined as “secular” and subject to the contraceptive mandate.
Versions of the Women’s Contraceptive Equity Act, the law considered in Monday's ruling, have been adopted in the 20 states after lawmakers concluded that private employee prescription plans without contraceptive benefits discriminated against women. more
Asylum to Couple Fleeing from China’s Forced Abortion Program
A federal appeals court granted asylum to Kui Rong Ma and his wife who sought asylum after experiencing China’s forced abortion program.
The US immigration board had previously declined to grant asylum to Ma and his wife, Lei Chiu Ma, since their marriage was not recognized by the Chinese government. They had married secretly in a ceremony put on by their local village since they failed to meet Chinese requirements for marriage.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the husband of a woman who fled the country after a forced abortion can't be refused asylum simply because China refused to recognize their marriage. more
Education Minister Andrew Mulenga issued a directive banning distribution of condoms in schools. Mulenga said condoms were encouraging young people to have premarital sex. Mulenga further said students should be advised to abstain from sex as a measure to fight AIDS instead of being urged to use condoms which promote immorality.
Education Minister Andrew Mulenga announced that any organization caught distributing condoms to schools would face ”the full wrath of the law” - and that the contraceptives should only be made available in tertiary institutions.
Zambia's Minister of Health, Brian Chituwo, has thrown his weight behind the policy change, arguing that primary school pupils were too young to be given condoms. They might, he added, see it as a licence to have sex.
”We are sending the wrong message: we are saying it is okay to have sex because we even have something to protect you. At these ages we should be advocating total abstinence,” said Chituwo
AIDS activists denounced the directive, insisting that condoms were necessary to combat AIDS in Zambia, one of the countries in southern Africa most seriously affected by the disease.
Nkandu Luo, an AIDS scientist and former health minister. ”We should appreciate the various approaches to curb HIV transmission...Those who believe in abstinence should teach it, but those who believe in condoms should also preach that message,” he noted.
Teacher Madeline Chuma especially regrets the announcement claiming that it puts an end to hopes that the female condom would also be made available. She had thought of this as the next step in HIV/AIDS education: that girls and boys would grow up knowing how to use the female condom, and feeling comfortable doing so. more and also here
anti-condom stand on AIDS Day
VATICAN CITY, Dec 1 (Reuters) - The Vatican on Monday issued a strong defence of its controversial position against condoms, saying fidelity, chastity and abstinence were the best ways to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in a "pan-sexualist society."
A top cardinal issued a five-page statement on World AIDS Day to hammer home the Vatican's position, which has drawn criticism from many quarters.
In a message addressed to Catholics, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, called for new ways of helping people change lifestyles.
"We have to present this as the main way for the effective prevention of infection and spread of HIV/AIDS, since the phenomenon of AIDS is a pathology of the spirit...," he said.
The Roman Catholic church opposes artificial contraception -- including condoms, which it says promote promiscuity.
The five-page message spoke of the "importance of respecting the religious and moral values of sexuality and matrimony, namely fidelity, chastity and abstinence."
Barragan, who is Mexican, invited "each and every one to step up prevention according to the doctrine of the Church, to practice the virtue of chastity in a pan-sexualist society."
He said AIDS campaigns should be based on "sure and authentic human and spiritual values, capable of establishing relevant education in favour of the culture of life and responsible love."
In a clear reference to condoms, he said information campaigns should not be "based on policies that foster immoral and hedonistic lifestyles and behaviour, favouring the spread of the evil."
Two months ago, another top Vatican cardinal raised controversy even within the Church by saying that the HIV/AIDS virus could be spread even if condoms were used.
Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, said that relying on condoms to stop AIDS was like "betting on your own death."
The World Health Organisation (WHO), guardian watchdog of global wellbeing, rejected that view, saying condoms can reduce the risk of infection by 90 percent.
Lopez-Trujillo was also criticised by Brazil's health minister and AIDS activists.
In his message on Monday, Barragan also took a swipe at the media, suggesting that it promoted immoral lifestyles.
"If the main risk behaviours are pan-sexualism and drug addiction, then poverty, urbanisation, unemployment, mobility immigration and mass media are major contributing factors in the spread of the disease," he said. more
Population Fund (UNFPA) Linked to Coercive Abortion and Forced Sterilizations
Records from investigations conducted by the Peruvian Congress, the US State Department, and the Population Research Institute (PRI) have revealed that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been actively involved in coercive abortion and forced sterilization campaigns in several countries, despite denial of the charges by the UNFPA's supporters.
In June 2002, an investigative commission of the Peruvian Congress released an exhaustive report on the forced sterilization campaign of ex-President Alberto Fujimori, showing that the UNFPA provided the Fujimori government with millions of dollars to carry out forced sterilization, and funneled millions more into channels that carried out coercive sterilization.
The Population Research Institute (PRI) observed and actively collected information on UNFPA’s activities. PRI brought victims of the UNFPA-supported forced sterilization campaign in Peru to testify to the U.S. Congress in 1996 and 1999.
The US Department of State, after reviewing reports from its Delegation to China, concluded in July 21, 2002, that UNFPA’s support of, and involvement in, China’s population planning activities allowed the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion.
The US Congress passed
the pro-life Kemp-Kasten amendment that prohibited taxpayer funding of
the UNFPA. more