George W. Bush: Can't Live with Him, Can Live without Him

By Moss, Doug | E Magazine, September-October 2004 | Go to article overview

George W. Bush: Can't Live with Him, Can Live without Him


Moss, Doug, E Magazine


There's hardly an issue, environmental or otherwise, where Bush administration rhetoric isn't almost diametrically opposite to its actual policies and practices. deed, when it comes to appearance versus reality, Bush has taken Orwell's 1984 to a whole new level.

Almost nowhere is this more true than in the administration's doublespeak on women's issues. Back in March, just as President Bush was giving a speech asserting that "the advance of liberty and the advance of women's rights are ultimately inseparable" the U.S. was locking horns with delegates from 40 other countries at a meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women. At issue: U.S. refusal to endorse a platform from the 1995 World Conference on Women declaring that women worldwide possessed inalienable rights to education, civil rights and reproductive health services.

A similar gathering took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico this past June, near the 10th anniversary of the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development, which met in Cairo in 1994. At that time an agreement nicknamed the "Cairo Consensus" was forged among 179 U.N. members that "meeting women's individual needs for reproductive health information and services was the best way to speed any nation's economic development and slow its population growth."

The Clinton administration committed $550 million in 1995 alone for international family planning programs. The Bush administration has since steadily cut that funding, and in San Juan this year tried to delete references to "reproductive health," "family planning services," "sexual health," even "condoms," from a draft declaration of support. …

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