Midway through a strength-sapping trip, Pope John Paul II struggled on Saturday to celebrate Mass for tens of thousands of pilgrims who gathered on a wind-swept hillside in this eastern Slovakia town.
The 83-year-old pope appeared rested and alert Saturday, but his voice was weak and slurred and his left hand trembled badly. After losing his place in his welcoming remarks and reading the same line twice, John Paul asked Cardinal Jozef Tomko to finish his homily to the crowd of at least 100,000 people.
Ailing Pope John Paul II struggles again during trip, USA Today, September 13, 2003
An increasingly frail Pope John Paul missed his general audience Wednesday for the first time in years because of a mild intestinal problem, raising fresh concerns about his health just weeks before he presides over lengthy ceremonies marking his 25th anniversary as Pope.
The 83-year-old pontiff did manage to address the crowd in an audio message, although he spoke with a weak voice and slurred his words, symptoms of the Parkinson's disease he has had for years.
"I am sorry for not being with you," John Paul said. "I carry you all in my heart and I bless you with affection."
Pope John Paul, suffering from 'intestinal problems,' skips public audience , CBC, September 24, 2003
The Bush Administration’s Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule,
endangers the lives and health of women, children and families in some of the world’s poorest countries, a new report released today finds. Access Denied: U.S. Restrictions on International Family Planning takes an in-depth look into the policy's effects — and comes less than a month after the President extended the Global Gag Rule to State Department family planning funds.
“The Global Gag Rule is yet another example of how the Bush Administration is allowing political ideology to trump science,” says Amy Coen, President of Population Action International, the study’s lead sponsor. “The policy shows no respect for scientific evidence and proven public health practices, and no compassion for the millions of women around the world engaged in a daily struggle for existence.”
Under this policy, foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are forced to choose between desperately needed family planning funds and the ability to provide medically ethical information or participate in public debates over their countries' abortion policies.
“At a time when more than 500,000 women die worldwide from pregnancy-related causes each year and over a million women die from AIDS, the Global Gag Rule is only making matters worse,” says Ipas President Elizabeth Maguire. “Ensuring that individuals and couples can make safe reproductive choices, including family planning, is vital to saving lives and improving the health of women and communities.”
Bush Administration’s Global Gag Rule Jeopardizing Health Care, Weakening HIV/AIDS Prevention and Endangering Lives, Access Denied, September 24, 2003
At a time when the U.S. government is expressing its strong commitment to address HIV/AIDS globally, the Global Gag Rule is undermining its ability to follow through on its promise. The gag rule prevents the U.S. from working with the most effective NGO partners serving two populations at greatest risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) — women and youth. Although the policy applies only to family planning funds, it is significantly impacting the HIV/AIDS prevention efforts of reproductive health providers.
Due to the Global Gag Rule, Marie Stopes International Kenya (MSI Kenya) was forced to close a clinic located in Kisumu, in a province where HIV prevalence is the highest in the country. In Kenya, women comprise 60 percent of HIV cases. The Kisumu clinic provided health services to approximately 400 women each month and also supported a cadre of community health care workers. When MSI Kenya’s Mathare Valley clinic closed, services for STI screening and treatment and HIV testing and counseling, along with other basic family planning and reproductive health care, ended for a community of 300,000 people — with no other clinic nearby.
Access Denied, Executive Summary, September 24, 2003