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04.22.2013 Usaid v Aosi - Final_0

04.22.2013 Usaid v Aosi - Final_0

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Published by InterAction

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Published by: InterAction on Apr 22, 2013
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04/22/2013

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April 22, 2013www.interaction.org
Contacts:
Sue Pleming: 202.552.6561 or 202.341.3814 (Cell) or spleming@interaction.org 
 
Jeanne Paradis: 202.552.6535 or 202.297.1696 (Cell) or  jparadis@interaction.org 
 
USAID v AOSI
heads to Supreme Court:Diverse groups find consensus in protecting free speech
WASHINGTON (April 22, 2013)
 
 –
 
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in a casethat could have dramatic consequences for NGOs, faith-based groups, and other civil societymembers. The case, 
,challenges a 2003 law that requires all groups receiving U.S.government funds for international HIV and AIDS work to have
“a
policy explicitly opposingprostitution.
The government argues that it has the constitutional authority to go far beyond prescribingwhat organizations can do with government money
 –
it can tell them what they must say and think,even in their privately funded work.The lower courts in the case found this policy requirement unconstitutional. Now the Supreme Court willdecide whether to give the government dramatic new powers
 –
in particular, the ability to force groups
to adopt the government’s policy position on any given issue, and gag all private speech thegovernment finds inconsistent with the position. The plaintiffs welcome the Court’s careful consideration
and look forward to a decision sometime in June.The respondents are the Alliance for Open Society International, Pathfinder International, InterAction,and Global Health Coalition. Ten amicus briefs were submitted in support of the respondents, spanningprogressive and conservative voices.
This rule goes far beyond prescribing what organizations can do with government money
 –
it tells them
what they must do, say and think even in their privately funded work,” Zoe Hudson, a senior policy
analyst for public health at the O
pen Society Foundations, said. “
Tha
t’s why pro
-life and pro-choicegroups, faith-based groups and health care providers, liberals and conservatives, strongly oppose the
government’s position. Requirements like this erode the free speech rights of organizations and destroy
the marketplace of idea
s on which our democracy rests.”
 
“We took on this case because we believe it is critical to preserve the ability for 
all 
organizations toprovide a range of life-saving health services without sacrificing the right to free speech. This policylimits our ability to engage with key affected populations in the fight against HIV and AIDS and has
broader implications for other health delivery in the future,” Purnima Mane, President and CEO,
Pathfinder International, said.
This restriction is broader than anything the Supreme Court has ever upheld and infringes on theconstitutional right to free speech. It amounts to a dramatic break from the usual conditions imposedupon nonprofits that receive federal resources. The diverse group of organizations supporting our argument underscores the importance of this case and its broad implications
,”
said Samuel A.Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction, a co-plaintiff in the case.The respondents appreciate the Supreme Court taking on such an important free speech case.For more resources on the case, including the amicus briefs, visit www.pledgechallenge.org. 
*************************************************************************************************************
InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental international organizations, with more than 190 members. Our members operate in every developing country, working with local communities to overcome poverty and suffering by helping to improve their quality of life. Visit  www.interaction.org 
.
 

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