March 1, 2007
In a commonsense ruling, the D.C. Court of Appeals sided with the Bush administration yesterday saying that the president can deny AIDS funding to groups that condone prostitution and sex trafficking. The case, now a year and a half old, was brought by DKT International, Inc., a family planning group that, among other things, provides condoms to Vietnamese sex workers. When DKT refused to sign a pledge that it would honor the President's anti-trafficking policies, the administration denied it taxpayer support. A lower court sided with DKT, stating that the nonprofit's First Amendment rights were violated because the funding conditions "insisted that the groups 'parrot' the government's position on prostitution." Fortunately, a three-judge panel reversed the decision and restored President Bush's authority to fund only those organizations that communicate the U.S. government's opposition to sex trafficking.