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U.S. News Archive
October 01 - October 06, 2000





This page contains news for the period October 01, 2000 through October 06, 2000.


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Thursday, October 5, 2000

AASP on the air at WDEL in Deleware

John Rago is the host of a radio talk show in Delaware.  In response to the ad placed by AASP in USA Today directed to single and unmarried voters, Rago invited AASP executive director Thomas F. Coleman to be a guest on his show on October 5, 2000..

Rago, who is single, was very supportive of AASP and the singles rights cause.  He kept Coleman on the show for about 45 minutes and afterwards he indicated he would have him back in the near future.

Helene Keeley, a Delaware state legislator was listening to the Rago show and contacted Coleman later that day.  She was concerned about the fact that Delaware statutes still referred to children born to unmarried parents in a stigmamtizing manner -- something discussed by Coleman on the show.

Not only did Keeley offer to introduce legislation to correct the problem, she became a member of AASP and joined the ranks of dozens of other elected officials throughout the nation who belong to our organization.

Position on unmarried couples causes friction in Episcopal church

A story published today by the Associated Press reports that the oldest Episcopal congregation in Alabama has voted to break away from the church to protest its  recognition of gay and other relationships outside of marriage.

Members of Christ Church voted overwhelmingly Sunday to affiliate with the Anglican Mission in America (AMIA), whose bishops are under the authority of archbishops of the Province of Rwanda and the Province of South East Asia.

Delegates to the Episcopal General Convention in July declared the church should support unmarried couples -- homosexual and heterosexual -- in monogamous relationships honoring religious values.

A spokeswoman for AMIA, based in Pawleys Island, S.C., said they have 17 congregations in at least 13 states,including six in the South.

Christ Church built its congregation beginning 165 years ago and now has an average attendance of 350 to 400.

The church's rector, the Rev. Tim Smith, said the key issue is "the drift of the Episcopal church away from biblical authority and  lack of discipline of bishops and clergy who have rejected most every tenet of the creeds of the church.

"By failing to discipline them, they have failed to defend the Christian faith," he said.

Number of abortions by unmarried women drops in Illinois

A story published by the Associated Press reports that the number of abortions performed in Illinois dropped below 46,000 last year, the lowest mark since the first year women could obtain legal abortions in the state.  Abortions by unmarried women also declined.

There were 45,924 abortions in Illinois in 1999, down 3,479 -- or 7 percent -- from the previous year, according to statistics released Wednesday by the state Public Health Department. Aside from some years with incomplete data, that is the smallest number since 1973, when 32,760 were performed.

The number of abortions has been falling steadily for years. In 1980, 67,514 were performed in Illinois, 32 percent more than in 1999.

The number of unmarried women getting abortions fell by 3,803, from 36,288 to 32,485, while the number for married women -- 6,880 -- was only about 200 fewer than the previous year.

The story suggested that some of the shift may be explained by an increase of 700 in the number of women whose marital status was unknown, and the state does not know the status of the 4,294 out-of-state women who came to Illinois for abortions. But it still seems likely that unmarried women had significantly fewer abortions last year.

The biggest drop was among women aged 20 to 24. Abortions in that category fell 1,148, from 14,401 to 13,253. Abortions among girls 17 and younger saw a bigger change in percentage terms -- 12 percent, from 4,148 to 3,647.

Wednesday, October 4, 2000

Advocates For Youth wants Congress to rescind funding for ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage programs

A story released today over US Newswire reports that a new report released this week by the Office of National AIDS Policy expressed "grave concern" over the large incentive to "adopt unproven abstinence-only approaches" to sexuality education.   Following up on that report, Advocates for Youth President, James Wagoner, criticized congressional politicians for putting "politics before science and personal agendas before the health and lives of American young people."

"Last week, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) called on Congress to rescind funding for ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. This week, the Office of   National AIDS Policy expresses grave concern over these ineffective programs. How many reports must be released, how many lives must be threatened, before politicians will support realistic sexuality education?" questioned Wagoner. "It's ironic that the very politicians charged with protecting American teens from  HIV/AIDS are creating policies that block two of the most effective methods of HIV prevention - comprehensive sexuality education and condom availability."

Wagoner called on Congress to immediately rescind the $250 million in federal funds allocated to abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and to redirect the funding to programs that are scientifically proven to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

"It is unacceptable for Congress to continue to fund programs that the premiere scientific organization, among many other leading public health organizations, has   found to be unrealistic and ineffective. Congress must act as the research directs and they must do it now. Every day that they delay, another 48 young people contract HIV," said Wagoner.

While abstinence-only-until-marriage education censors information about contraception for the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other STDs, as well as unintended  pregnancy, comprehensive sexuality education provides information about both abstinence and contraception.

That is why Wagoner says that the current congressional trend of funding abstinence-only-until-marriage programs particularly disturbing.

"American young people are contracting HIV at the rate of two per hour, yet Congress continues to dump taxpayer dollars into ineffective programs that deny young people information about contraception that could protect their health and save their lives. "

"At a time when nearly half of all new HIV infections occur in those under the age of 25, American teens deserve medically accurate,
realistic information about sex. Anything less, in the era of AIDS, is not only naove and misguided, but also irresponsible and dangerous," concluded Wagoner.

Advocates for Youth is a Washington, DC based national nonprofit organization that creates programs and supports policies that help
young people make safe, responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

Presidential debaters won't say 'single people'

During their first debate last night, neither Al Gore nor George W. Bush ever uttered the words "single people" -- not even once.

Gore continued his "family" mantra -- using that term at least 13 times during his remarks.   In contrast, Bush specifically referred to "families" once twice.

Gore spoke about "parents" four times, compared with Bush who used that term only once.

Bush spoke about "seniors" about a dozen times, while Gore mentioned this group only four times as such.

Bush seemed to use more generic language than Gore did.  The Republican candidate spoke about tax cuts for "everyone" and expressed concern on more than one occasion for "working people."

In what seemed to be an indirect appeal to single people, Bush talked over and over again about helping "younger workers."  Bush referred to "younger workers" at least nine times.

Since 40% of the overall full-time work force is unmarried, probably a majority of "younger workers" fall into this category.

Bush explained that he wants to give younger workers an opportunity to personally invest a small percentage of the social security tax taken out of their paychecks.  Money in this personal investment plan would be inheritable.

Under current law, the social security benefits of workers are forfeited when they die, except that the surviving spouses of married workers may continue to draw upon these benefits for many additional years. 

As a result, married workers receive a greater return on their social security investments than do unmarried workers.   This has a particularly harsh effect on African American workers since the large majority of these employees are unmarried and since, as a class, African Americans tend to die younger than Caucasians, and thus they collect fewer benefits.  The personal investment plan promoted by Bush would eliminate marital status discrimination from this portion of the social security program and would help eliminate some of the disparity between African Americans and Caucasians in terms of benefits collected.

Gore hammered away at Bush by criticizing his tax reduction plans, saying that the Bush formula would disproportionately help the top one percent of taxpayers.  Neither candidate mentioned the fact that under current law a wealthy person who dies can leave millions of dollars to a spouse without paying any estate taxes at all -- but an unmarried person who dies can be forced to forfeit at much as 60% of his or her estate in federal death taxes.

Bush's proposal to phase out the so-called death tax would have the effect of eliminating marital status discrimination in the current estate tax laws.  Gore's proposal to reduce estate taxes, rather than eliminate them altogether, would continue to exempt transfers to a surviving spouse while imposing a tax on transfers from an unmarried person to a friend or relative.

Both candidates were asked whether they would keep or repeal the FDA's recent approval of RU-486 -- the so-called morning after pill to terminate pregnancy.  It is likely that this pill will be used more by single women than married women.

Gore flatly stated that he supports the FDA decision.   Bush reluctantly said that although he did not like the FDA's approval of the drug, he would not seek to overrule it.

Bush did use the term "single mother" once during the debate, arguing that his tax plans would lower the taxes of these women.  Gore did not use the term "single" in any context.

In the final analysis, Gore seemed to focus his outreach to parents and families.  Bush, on the other hand, used more generic language -- appealing mostly to "everyone" or all "working people" and with a special emphasis on "younger workers."

Maybe in their next debate, one or both of these candidates will muster up the courage to use the words "single people."

Some 34% of Republican voters are unmarried as are some 44% of Democrats.  With numbers like these, it seems strange that the candidates don't speak directly to "single people" and solicit their support.


Sunday, October 1, 2000

Nearly half of Jewish adults in Colorado are single

A story published today in the Denver Post reports that L'Chaim, the Jewish Singles Resource program, has become so successful that a lot of other groups want to know its secret.

"We even got a call from the Lutheran church next door," says Sharon Haber, L'Chaim's executive director.

The story suggests that the secret to success is to diversify.

L'Chaim, which means "to life," doesn't shoehorn singles into one big group but offers an array of choices, from hiking to dining out, from Jewish education to social service projects, to finding lonely singles a place to go for High Holy Day services.

The need for making connections is there. In Colorado, 47 percent of the Jewish population is single, in a religious culture geared to family and personal relationships. So L'Chaim is honest about its goals — it is exclusively for Jews, to meet other Jews for friendship and marriage.

The opportunities come as a relief to many Jewish singles who consider synagogues, the classic place to meet people of their own religion, geared mostly to families.

"I feel good about my religion but it's no fun to go alone," says Laverne Feingold, a divorced insurance company employee. To be single at a synagogue, "You feel very alone, very isolated."

On a recent week night, Feingold, an 55-year-old, joined a dozen other singles for Book Party, a regular gathering at Temple Emanuel based on an old-fashioned premise: let singles find each other through scrapbooks of photos and personal resumes.

Jennifer Breman, 27, discloses a common complaint: The cost of belonging to a synagogue, often $500 a year or more for a single person, is prohibitive to many young adults: "If you don't go that much, what do you get out of it?" she asks the group.

Meanwhile, late in the evening at Book Party, group matchmaking gives way to a more classic resource — family connections. Brian Nieder, 25, an stockbroker, has arrived late. He complains to the group that women his age are immature.

That catches the ear of Flo Berman, who sets aside a scrapbook she's been perusing.

"Have I got a girl for you," she tells Nieder, referring to her granddaughter. "Would you be interested in dating a 31-year-old cutie?"

"Would she be interested in dating a 25-year-old gentleman?" Nieder replies.   "I think we have just bypassed the middleman," says Berman, with a laugh.



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