Republican Platform 2012: What About Foreign Aid?
The 1960 Republican platform pledged to "support and strengthen the UN." Today, the 2012 Republican Platform is vastly different from the ideals that the GOP once held, and shockingly polarizing.
This election year, the Republican platform opposes U.S. involvement with the International Criminal Court on the mistaken basis that this would give the ICC jurisdiction over U.S. troops. It discounts our commitment to reduce our stockpile of nuclear weapons, reversing the U.S. commitment to nuclear non-proliferation. The human rights section is a measly five sentences. The most shockingly offensive section, however, is the point encouraging that the US should limit the amount of foreign aid and UN funding, despite saying that "Foreign aid should serve our national interest, an essential part of which is the peaceful development of less advanced and vulnerable societies in critical parts of the world."
Yes, Republicans, let's talk about those who are vulnerable in these critical parts of the world. Let's talk about the woman who dies every 90 seconds in childbirth due to neglect---I would consider these women vulnerable and in need of our assistance. Yet, according to the official Republican platform, these vulnerable women will be further penalized by the party's stance to reinstate the "Gag Rule," or the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits federal funding for NGOs that "provide or promote abortion."
As I have written about this before, this is a dangerous policy and is directly contradicting of the notion to help those most vulnerable in the world----these women dying in childbirth. Journalist and women's rights promoter, Nick Kristof, states that the global lack of attention on maternal mortality and injuries caused by child birth is none other than discrimination against women.
I agree with Kristof's declaration, given that 80% of maternal deaths are preventable. There is no excuse for that shocking of a statistic. After the Bush Administration re-instated the Gag Rule in the early 2000s, Kristof investigated exactly what that meant and what programs we were cutting. Kristof uncovered the sad truth that the Gag Rule punishes women in developing countries, cutting off their access to pre-natal care, cutting off family planning counseling, and cutting off life-saving resources for the mother and unborn child when complications arise.
The Republican platform summed up this complex issue, stating: "The effectiveness of our foreign aid has been limited by the cultural agenda of the current Administration, attempting to impose on foreign countries, especially the peoples of Africa, legalized abortion[...]"
This statement was a dangerous way to dismiss and over simplify this staggering problem of protecting women's lives abroad. It seems that although the language of the platform tries to highlight the importance vital resources for those most vulnerable in the world, the Republicans' cuts to foreign aid and the dismissal of maternal health is a dangerous blow to advancing human rights abroad.
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