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Bush admin's export of wingnuttery around the world

“The collaboration of right-wing NGOs and the Bush administration far exceeds any collaboration between pro-choice family groups and the Clinton administration. We never had that kind of hand-in-glove relationship.”

— Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice

Kissling’s right. Please. Someone. Stop these wingers.

It’s bad enough that we are constantly battling the bible-beating, backward-thinking, womb-controlling homophobes here on home soil, but it’s completely unnerving that the tentacles of the beast known as the AmTaliban are reaching overseas and across borders — with the blessing and strong backing of the Bush Administration.

It is an expanding culture war over abortion, family planning, sex education, AIDS/HIV prevention and gay rights, and they plan to win it. (

“We don’t expect to see the United Nations change, or Western Europe change,” said Joseph d’Agostino of the Population Research Institute, a Virginia-based anti-abortion group. “But with the Bush administration, pro-lifers feel there’s a real opportunity to stop the U.S. government from promoting abortion and sex education and population control in the Third World.”

Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America said U.S. conservatives are trying to counter the influence long exercised by women’s rights and abortion rights groups at U.N. conferences and among international non-governmental organizations. “NGOs have tremendous power, but for so many years they have been the playground for the leftist activists,” Crouse said. “It’s only been during the Bush administration that those of us from the right have had an opportunity to be on a level playing field.”

Level playing field? Good night, this is bad. They are still whining about feeling powerless, even as they seek to relieve people of their privacy rights and control over reproductive freedom. What few rights women have in many developing countries are going to be chipped away at by the export of U.S. fundamentalist batsh*ttery.

Look at some of the familiar players involved and some of what’s on their plates…

* Several prominent U.S. groups, including Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council, are helping prepare for a World Congress of Families in Poland in May 2007. The chief organizer, Allan Carlson of the Rockford, Ill.-based Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, said U.S. conservatives view Poland – where the new president staunchly opposes abortion and gay marriage – as a rare holdout to liberal, secular trends throughout the European Union.

Allan Carlson is author of a screed called “”The Natural Family: A Manifesto.” I posted about it here.

* In Peru, the Population Research Institute filed a complaint with the U.S. Agency for International Development, contending that two local groups had violated U.S. policy by using American funds to promote legalization of the morning-after pill. Both groups were warned, and one will have to return some funds, according to PRI’s d’Agostino.

* In Colombia, PRI has assisted local conservatives in opposing a legal challenge to the country’s sweeping ban on abortions. Though rebuffed by the Constitutional Court last month, women’s rights activists plan to file a new lawsuit seeking to end Colombia’s status as one of three Latin American countries prohibiting all abortions.

* Several U.S. conservative groups have been helping rally opposition to family-planning legislation pending in the Philippines. The bill would provide some financial incentives for parents who limit themselves to two children; critics also say it goes too far in promoting sex education and access to birth control.

* American conservatives have strongly supported Bush administration policies emphasizing abstinence as a favored strategy in overseas HIV/AIDS prevention programs. U.S.-based groups focusing on abstinence have received grants for prevention work in Africa, in some cases drawing criticism that political ties overcame their lack of expertise.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding