'Victory for First Amendment Rights of NGOs': GHC Lauds Supreme Court Decision

'Victory for First Amendment Rights of NGOs': GHC Lauds Supreme Court Decision

{Photo credit: kjetil_r via Flickr}Photo credit: kjetil_r via Flickr

In a landmark 6-2 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a 2003 law requiring organizations that receive US government funding for global health work on HIV & AIDS to have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution. The plaintiffs in the USAID v. AOSI case included the Global Health Council (GHC), Pathfinder, the Alliance for Open Society International (AOSI), and InterAction.

In a letter to GHC members, Jonathan D. Quick, MD, MPH, chairman of the GHC board of directors and MSH president and CEO, said:

"We are gratified that the Supreme Court upheld the lower courts’ decisions that this U.S. government Policy Requirement is unconstitutional because it likely violates free speech rights of GHC members. If implemented, the Policy Requirement would have affected not only delivery of programs under PEPFAR but also opened the door to government restriction and regulation of privately raised funds. While we agree that the government can say how it wants its money spent, this requirement went far beyond that by shutting down programming, research and debate on important topics. We are heartened by the decision and ready to continue our partnership with the US government to save lives, including the most vulnerable."

Quick continued:

"Thanks and kudos to all who have worked and helped make this happen. We have achieved a critical victory for global heath and the first amendment."

Read more about the case