Saturday, May 22, 2004
In a poll released earlier this week, Democrat Stephanie Herseth led by 9 percentage points in the hotly contested race for South Dakota's lone House of Representatives seat, with the election just days away on June 1.
While her lead is narrowing, she is still expected to win according to the Argus Leader, a daily newspaper in South Dakota. Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than 44,000 in the state, an advantage of nearly 10 percentage points.
Democrat Stephanie Herseth has never wavered from her pro-choice stance during the race for state's lone House of Representatives seat.
As a young, single woman, Herseth has been attacked by her Republican opponent, Larry Diedrich, for her views on abortion and gay marriage; Herseth has said she does not support a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. Diedrich has also frequently pointed out that Herseth does not have a family of her own.
Herseth has received support from unions and pro-choice groups like EMILY's List and prominent legislators like Nancy Pelosi, the House minority whip. The descendant of generations of South Dakota legislators, Herseth holds a law degree and a graduate degree in political science from Georgetown University.
The United Nations Population Fund, known as one of the world's largest international source of funding for population and reproductive health programs, is waiting for President George W. Bush to release $34 million in funds for the organization, financial support that Congress has already approved.
But a silence from the White House is causing concern among women's rights advocates that the Bush Administration will once again refuse to give approved funds to the organization. Bush withdrew $34 million appropriated for the U.N. agency in 2002, and another $25 million was withheld in 2003.
The "life-saving funds are currently being held hostage as the Bush administration determines once again whether to eliminate funds for this important 'anchor organization' which supports family planning and reproductive health care and service globally," wrote Peter J. Purdy, president of the U.S. Committee for the United Nations Population Fund, in a press release this week.
The UNPF works in 140 countries to help family planning, to avoid unwanted pregnancies, to maintain healthy pregnancies and childbirth, to avoid sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS and to combat violence against women.
-- Shaya Mohajer.
U.S. Committee For UNFPA--
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