Enter Stage Right hands out its awards...

The Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

web posted March 12, 2001

Apparently, not only does the federal government have a moral obligation to pay for abortions in the United States, critics of George W. Bush believe that obligation extends to every other nation on Earth.

As you'll doubtless remember, on assuming the big chair in January, Bush cancelled funding of abortions in other nations, a move which was greeted with a collective yawn in the United States. Given that the issue hasn't been decided among Americans, many thought it fair that paying for a controversial procedure in another country -- whatever the reasons -- wasn't the best use of taxpayer dollars.

Well, that doesn't sit well with people who don't pay taxes in the United States. On March 8, family planning experts held a press conference in London, England to denounce Bush's reinstatement of the so-called "Mexico City Policy" as a "fascist approach" which created a double standard when it came to abortion services.

"We condemn this double standard," Dr. Med Bouzidi, of the International Planned Parenthood Federation thundered.

"The lack of control over a woman's body will lead to more unwanted pregnancies and death."

According to the Positive Action International, American taxpayers should be footing the bill for abortions in nations like Ethiopia, Angola, Chad, Afghanistan (where this journal is skeptical that abortion providers would be welcome) and the Central African Republic. The problem with those nations, which whiners should duly note do not have HMOs, is the poor quality of service -- in Ethiopia, for example, a woman has a one in seven chance of dying from complications during pregnancy, childbirth or unsafe abortion.

It is a sad thing to know that women in other nations do not have access to the same quality of health care that we residents of the northern hemisphere do and it is doubly so to know that women are dying during childbirth or an abortion. That said, condemning a legitimate decision by Bush to halt funding for abortions in other nations is hardly fascist. Millions of Americans find it objectionable to know that their taxpayer dollars are being used to fund abortions in their own country, especially given that there isn't a clear consensus on the issue, and it must have been particularly galling to know some of their money was being used to provide abortions in sub-Saharan Africa.

While infant mortality rates and life expectancies in a nation like the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- a nation that is neither democratic nor a republic -- are abysmally poor, it is not up to the United States to fund procedures like abortions when other technologies are available that usually prevent pregnancies before they occur. While there may well be cultural problems with using contraceptives in some nations, they are the cultural problems of those nations, and not America's. By declaring Bush's decision fascist proponents of abortion and family planning merely look like shrill fools. Perhaps those critics would like to spend a day in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to experience what a true violent dictatorship is.

The Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

web posted March 19, 2001

Let it never be said that ESR fails to offer praise to the political left when they deserve it. Doubly so for Canada's Liberal government.

If you've been reading this little effort over the past few years, you'll doubtless know that we have excoriated Canada's Liberal government countless times over its policy on Cuba. Canadian ministers (and Prime Minister Jean Chretien) have visited the Communist tyranny and barely acknowledged the brutal repression that Fidel Castro has subjected his slaves to. Canada's official policy, dating back to Pierre Trudeau, was to tweak the noses of the American government by promoting Cuba when possible.

It isn't a big change, but Canada's government signaled last week that its relationship with the dictatorship has changed. Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley told a parliamentary committee that Canada no longer supports Cuba being permitted to participate in future hemispheric summits or the Organization of American States because it does not deserve a seat at the table.

"Canada agrees that Cuba is not ready to participate in the summit because it lacks a commitment to democratic principles," Manley said after the committee meeting on March 14.

So what happened to change Canada's mind after decades of supporting the legitimacy of Castro's style of government? No one knows, but at least it happened.

Have someone you want considered for the Earth is Flat Award or the Vinegar in Freedom Award? Email ESR with your candidates!

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