By Gudrun Schultz
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 1, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The U.S. government is free to withhold funding from nonprofit AIDS groups that refuse to sign a pledge against prostitution and sex trafficking, a federal appeals court ruled Feb.29.
DKT International Inc., which promotes population control policies in developing nations, took the U.S. Agency for International Development to court in 2005 over the agency’s decision to withhold funds from the organization.
DKT was founded by US porn king Philip D. Harvey, who also launched one of the world’s largest mail-order pornography and sex merchandise businesses. The organization distributes condoms to prostitutes in Vietnam and opposes efforts to end the “sex trade,” claiming it is an established part of human society. DKT refused to sign an anti-prostitution pledge required under a 2003 law, which specified that groups must explicitly oppose prostitution and sex trafficking in order to qualify for funding under a $15 billion AIDS program.
DKT argued that the requirement violated the organization’s freedom of speech rights.
A lower court agreed, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned that ruling in Tuesday’s decision. U.S. Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph said the Bush administration was authorized by Congress to distribute AIDS funds “on such terms and conditions as the president may determine,” the Associated Press reported.
”"The act does not compel DKT to advocate the government’s position on prostitution and sex trafficking; it requires only that if DKT wishes to receive funds it must communicate the message the government chooses to fund," Randolph wrote in a 10-page decision reversing the lower court’s ruling. "This does not violate the First Amendment."
Gregory Carlin of the Irish Anti-Trafficking Coalition told LifeSiteNews.com “The porn industry shouldn’t have a veto on the foreign policy of the United States.” The IARC advocated for a withdrawal of Irish support from the DKT after the group’s link to pornography became publicized.
The Christian Medical Association applauded Tuesday’s court ruling, after authoring a joint letter last year to President Bush urging him to protect victims of sexual trafficking by upholding the policy—more than 100 women’s health and policy organizations signed the petition.
“As healthcare professionals, we recognize the harm that prostitution inflicts on its victims," said CMA chief executive David Stevens, M.D. "That harm is made even more horrific when a woman or child is prostituted and enslaved. We know from the research that prostitution spreads AIDS and accounts for much of human trafficking worldwide.”
“Incredible as it seems, there are groups out there that instead of rescuing these victims would employ a so-called ‘harm reduction’ approach of simply distributing condoms or advice. That’s totally inappropriate for sex slaves, most of whom are children and women. We totally support the government’s policy, which promotes an abolitionist approach that opposes prostitution as inherently harmful and degrading, and actively supports the rescue and restoration of sexually exploited individuals.”
See previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
Pornographer Sues Bush over Anti-Prostitution Measure
Pornographer’s NGO Loses Battle for US AIDS Funding in US Appeals Court
By Gudrun Schultz
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