April 22, 2002
JOHN ASHCROFT wants to know what you're reading. That's but one chilling implication of the USA Patriot Act, which was rushed into law following the Sept. 11 tragedy, ostensibly to expand the tools authorities use to catch spies and terrorists. Combine it with new Bush administration policies obscuring the public's view of government and limiting access to public records and presidential papers, and what emerges is a pattern of assaults on the First Amendment, cloaked in swagger about national security and patriotism.
May 19, 2001
Upholding gag rule won't make women safe or cut abortions On Wednesday, Congress voted to strike down the Global Democracy Promotion Act, which would have overturned the global gag rule President Bush imposed as one of his first acts in office ("House upholds Bush ban on aid to abortion groups," May 17). In exchange for U.S. family planning assistance, the gag rule requires foreign non-governmental organizations to withhold information about legal abortion and where to obtain safe abortion services.
January 23, 2001
Hours after President Bush signed his debut executive order yesterday reinstating the so-called "global gag rule" regarding abortion, Gov. Parris N. Glendening urged a group of abortion rights activists to stay vigilant in the face of the new administration. Both Bush's order, which denies funding to international groups that use their own money to support abortion, and last night's pro-abortion rights rally at the State House coincided with the 28th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the United States.
April 19, 1998
IN A COUNTRY that professes a bedrock belief in free speech, gag rules deserve a bad name.But some members of Congress think other countries are fair game for restrictions on basic democratic principles such as free speech -- particularly if those countries want to debate matters important to women.Under the pretense of "pro-life" sentiments, these members of Congress are deaf to the reality that open and frank discussions of those issues could save many lives.Best estimates indicate that unsafe abortions kill some 70,000 women a year in poor countries around the world.
March 12, 1998
ABORTION OPPONENTS have been unsuccessful in reversing the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in this country. But they have had better results in their attempts to hamper family planning programs in poor countries.Today, another attempt to impose a "global gag rule" on these programs is expected to reach the floor of the House of Representatives. Members of the Maryland delegation ought to see this for what it is -- a misguided attempt to curb abortions that would instead deprive poor families of contraceptives and increase maternal and child deaths.
November 5, 1997
HOUSE REPUBLICANS who claim to be ardently opposed to abortions instead seem intent on increasing them worldwide. That would be the effect of a gag rule they seek to impose on U.S. aid to family planning programs.Two years ago, their no-compromise approach helped shut down the federal government, even while they insisted their opposition was to abortion, not to the family planning programs that decrease demand for abortions. This year they are working their mischief again, holding up accord on a foreign aid bill.