Hillary Speaks on Egypt, Haiti, Uganda
February 01, 2011
HILLARY SPEAKS ON EGYPT
With the eyes of the world on Egypt this week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was interviewed on all five Sunday morning network news programs.
"We want to see free and fair elections and we expect that that will be one of the outcomes of what is going on in Egypt right now," she said. "It is not a question of who retains power – that should not be the issue. It is how are we going to respond to the legitimate grievances expressed by the Egyptian people and chart a new path…"
"Real stability only comes from the kind of democratic participation that allows people to feel that they are being heard."
WOMEN'S HEALTH A TARGET ONCE AGAIN
Just when we should be moving forward to make health care more available, a new bill before Congress aims to restrict women's access even further – including even greater difficulties for victims of rape! H.R.3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which now has more than 180 sponsors, claims to be about making the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion through Medicaid, a permanent law.
But the language of the bill goes much further, redefining rape, for example, so as to deny assistance to victims of statutory rape or incest. Current law provides exemptions in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman; the new bill uses the language "forcible rape", excluding statutory rape, women who might have been drugged or have been date raped.
"This bill takes us back to a time when just saying 'no' wasn't enough to qualify as rape," says Staph Sterling, a lawyer and senior adviser to the National Women's Law Center.
Even the title of this bill is misleading: the health care reform bill enacted by Congress last year already includes language ensuring that federal funds are not used for abortion, setting up a segregated system within health care exchanges so that abortion coverage is paid for only by private funds. The purpose of this bill is to reduce access to abortion even further, reducing the options for full reproductive health coverage; changing tax policy to deny tax credits to small businesses, and tax deductions to individuals, for abortion services.
"This would be the biggest intrusion on a woman's right to choose in our lifetime. This is not the will of the American people," said Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado.
See these New York Times editorials about the latest attacks on women's health:
A companion bill to H.R.3 has not been introduced in the Senate yet, but we'll be watching. Meanwhile, you may want to speak up and express your opposition now. Because it's time we made clear that being a woman is not a preexisting condition!
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GOOD NEWS FOR NO LIMITS FRIENDS
Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, who was our first No Limits members-only conference call speaker, won national recognition as she became the longest serving woman Senator in our nation's history. Barbara Mikulski was first elected to the Senate in 1986, the first Democratic woman elected on her own. "I don't just want to be the first," she said. "I want to be the first of many." At that time, just 15 women had been elected to the Senate. Today, there are 17 current woman Senators, and Barbara Mikulski serves as dean, welcoming new women members with "power teas" on how to be effective.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who spoke at the breakfast to our national policy conference, has been elected to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Senator Gillibrand was a leading advocate and strategist in the successful fight to abolish Don't Ask Don't Tell. A former Congresswoman from New York, she was appointed to the Senate when Hillary Rodham Clinton became Secretary of State. She follows then-Senator Clinton's footsteps again in joining the Armed Services Committee.
Former Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan gave us a range of effective, innovative ideas for the economy in a members-only conference call last year. Having completed her second term as governor, she will be teaching at the University of California at Berkeley. Granholm, a Berkeley graduate, and her husband Dan Mulhern, will teach in the schools of law, business and public policy.
CONTINUING THE WORK FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMAN DIGNITY:
INVESTING IN WOMEN IN TURKEY
"When women progress, everyone benefits: men and women, boys and girls," Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer told the Invest for the Future Women's Conference in Istanbul, Turkey last week. She spoke of the importance of investing in women, and the difference women can make to national and international prosperity, building strong economies that grow jobs and offer more opportunities for everyone.
Speaking of one businesswoman who confronted corruption in her country head on, Ambassador Verveer praised:
"The work of businesswomen here like Nigar, a bookstore owner from Azerbaiijan, who refused to pay a bribe to a tax inspector. When he remained in her shop doorway, she made a video of his actions and defended her rights against his demands. She observed this is proof of how important it is to know the laws and one's rights."
MOURNING THE MURDER OF A LGBT LEADER IN UGANDA
"Ugandan Who Spoke Up for Gays Is Beaten to Death"
- The New York Times, January 27, 2011
"We are profoundly saddened by the loss of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato, who was brutally murdered in his home near Kampala yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues."
"This crime is a reminder of the heroic generosity of the people who advocate for and defend human rights on behalf of the rest of us – and the sacrifices they make. And as we reflect on his life, it is also an occasion to reaffirm that human rights apply to everyone, no exceptions, and that the human rights of LGBT individuals cannot be separated from the human rights of all persons."
- Statement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In our last newsletter, we featured a story in The Advocate about The Department of State's leadership in working for LGBT rights around the world. Click here to see it again.
AND HELPING THE PEOPLE OF HAITI
After addressing the crisis in Egypt Sunday morning, Hillary traveled to Haiti, where she met with President Preval and all the Presidential candidates, in preparation for Wednesday's election.
"We have a deep commitment to the Haitian people," Hillary said. "And that goes to humanitarian aid; it goes to governance and democracy programs. We will be going to a cholera treatment center that represents an excellent combination of American and international efforts to try to stem the cholera epidemic, and there has been success in limiting that."
"So, we are focused on helping the Haitian people. And one of the ways we want to help them is by making sure that their political choices are respected."
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THE LAST WORD
"We are on the side – as we have been for more 30 years – of a democratic Egypt that provides both universal and human rights to its people."
- Secretary Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when asked which side the United States is on in Egypt, January 30, 2011.