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Government Information Clamp-down Resisted

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Last issue, we reported on efforts by the Bush administration to reduce access to government information. Many of the changes stand, but several are being challenged—and some reversed.

•After members of Congress protested its removal, a fact sheet on the effectiveness of condoms in pre-venting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases was put back on the Centers for Disease Control website.

•The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has put back up on its website a statement, removed last June, that there is no link between abortion and breast cancer. In February, in what appears to be a rebellion of scientists, NCI convened a conference of experts who reaffirmed that the evidence is clear: “Having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman's subsequent risk of developing breast cancer.”

•Funding has been reinstated for the Department of Labor's Mass Layoff Statistics program, which was cancelled last December. The program has resumed its monthly and quarterly reports of layoffs of more than 50 people from a single company.

•Several Democratic senators recently introduced legislation to reverse some changes in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) contained in last year's Homeland Security Act. The new law would reinstate protections for whistleblowers, remove civil lawsuit immunity for corporations, and recognize state and local FOIA laws.

•A judge has yet to rule on a lawsuit by the nonprofit group Public Citizen against President Bush's executive order that would allow former presidents and vice presidents to prevent release of their documents.

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