|The Export of Fundamentalism|
The Export of Fundamentalism
The Financial Times, November 24, 2003
Letter to the Editor
Sir, Gerard Baker's statement ("The myth of US fundamentalism," November 20) that it is "almost impossible to find a single aspect of US life in which Christian conservatives have succeeded in shifting the country" inadvertently proves the success of an interesting political strategy.
The Bush administration, careful not to offend moderate voters at home, has cultivated the right by letting ideologues dictate many social and health policies abroad, especially those affecting women. The president has blocked all US contributions to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which is the primary source of funds in 140 countries for maternal health programmes and family planning services. He has imposed the Global Gag Rule, which requires foreign organisations that receive US funds to withhold information about abortion, even where abortion is legal. These two actions, pushed by Christian conservatives, may not affect the average American household, and their effects are far from the prying eyes of journalists in Washington, but they have real and devastating consequences for women's health services around the world.
Originally published in The Financial Times, November 24, 2003. Reprinted with permission.