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news release

Rebecca Wind

For Immediate Release:


The newest issue of The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy, a review from The Alan Guttmacher Institute's (AGI's) policy analysts, explores several issues of particular relevance following last week’s national elections.

1. Abortion and the Courts
"Courts Strike ‘Partial-Birth Abortion Ban; Decisions Presage Future Debates," by Cynthia Dailard, discusses the current status and future implications of The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the first federal law aimed at criminalizing an abortion procedure since the legalization of abortion 30 years ago. The ban was signed into law by President Bush in November 2003, but three district court cases have since declared the law unconstitutional. Any of these three cases could well make its way to the Supreme Court, where speculation about potential Bush nominees to the Supreme Court has recently intensified because of concerns about Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s health.

2. Stem Cell Research
"Embryonic Stem Cell Research--Old Controversy; New Debate," by Rachel Benson Gold, places the stem cell dispute in the context of the decades-old debate around research involving human embryos and fetuses. Such work has led to stunning scientific breakthroughs, but has always been controversial. In the recent election, California voters committed $3 billion dollars in seed money for stem cell research. Governor Schwarzenegger broke from President Bush and the Republican Party in supporting this proposition. President Bush has limited federal funding to some 64 stem cell lines estimated by the administration to already be in existence. However, scientists have determined only 15 useful lines are available.

3. "ABC" Approach to Sexual Risk Reduction
The "ABC" approach to sexual risk reduction--Abstain, Be faithful, use Condoms--associated with reducing HIV rates in Uganda in the 1990s has been promoted as a model for other countries. The key to this approach is its comprehensiveness--yet the Bush administration has used Uganda's success to justify a focus on the "A" and, increasingly, "B" components, while disparaging the contribution of "C." In "Promoting the 'B' in ABC: Its Value and Limitations in Fostering Reproductive Health," Susan Cohen reviews the evidence in support of promoting "B" while emphasizing that the practice of "B" alone is insufficient to eliminate the risk of infection--and does nothing to lower the risk of unwanted pregnancy.

Also in the October issue of The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy:
"The Role of Reproductive Health Providers in Preventing HIV," by Heather Boonstra.

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