The Bush Administration has quietly deleted and altered information on women’s issues from government agency websites, a research group has found. A report from the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW), released in mid-April, says the deletion of information on subjects including pay equity and childcare was “apparently [done] in pursuit of a political agenda. ” At least 25 publications were removed from the website of the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau alone.
Some items that were not deleted were reportedly altered: For example, information about the use of condoms to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases was changed to say that the effectiveness of condoms was “inconclusive. ” The National Cancer Institute’s website was changed in 2002 to say studies linking abortion and breast cancer were inconsistent; an outcry from scientists resulted in an amendment to say abortion is not associated with an increased risk.
The NCRW report also indicated that key government offices such as the Office of Women’s Initiatives and Outreach in the White House and the President’s Interagency Council on Women have been disbanded, with attempts made at the Pentagon to disband the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. Finally, the report found that as of March 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft had failed to conduct and publish a study required under the Violence Against Women Act to investigate discrimination against domestic violence victims in getting insurance.