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Globalization and politics

Will Kherbek
art critic
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piqer: Will Kherbek
Friday, 08 March 2019

Counterspin: Citizen Action, Unwanted Development, And Global Reproductive Health

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has been broadcasting the programme Counterspin for well over a decade, providing coverage of stories that the American corporate media ignores or distorts. The 22 February episode of Counterspin focusses on two issues: the choice by Amazon to rescind a plan to base a new headquarters in New York City; and the re-institution and expansion of the Mexico City Policy — known as the "global gag rule" on abortion counselling — by President Trump.

The Amazon story is discussed by the show's longtime presenter Janine Jackson and the journalist Neil deMause. DeMause describes the bizarre arguments Amazon made about the value it would bring to the community, and notes that the politicians seeking to enable Amazon often made even stranger pitches. Perhaps the key point of the deMause interview is that local groups taking aim at Amazon's presentation as "good corporate citizen" had an impact, imposing actual democracy on the politicians who claim to represent them. 

Jackson then speaks to Nina Besser Doorley, who traces the history of the "global gag rule" that restricts countries receiving US health aid for family planning from discussing abortion with patients. Trump recently expanded this rule, applying it to all health services for which the US provides aid. Doorley explains the ways in which the rule prevents women from receiving not only abortion services, but access to contraception and other basic health care. Ending on a hopeful note, Doorley discusses the Global Health Empowerment and Rights Act currently making its way through the US Congress. The passage of this act would remove abortion as a criterion for decisions related to the dispensation of American health aid. The bill's passage is a long shot (a Republican Senate would likely kill it, and Trump will certainly veto it), but as the Amazon fight in New York City showed, sometimes the seemingly impossible can become inevitable.

Counterspin: Citizen Action, Unwanted Development, And Global Reproductive Health
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