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Report Says States Cutting Services for Women and Children

Federal budget reductions within the past 18 months have forced all 50 states to reduce health services for women and children, according to a report by the Children's Defense Fund.

"Babies are needlessly dying and facing lifelong impairment for lack of adequate health care," according to the report. "Areas of the country suffering some of the sharpest decreases in the availability of public-health services are also beginning to report a significant rise in infant mortality."

Among the hardest hit areas is Detroit, where in some parts of the city the infant-death rate has reached 33 per 1,000 live births--a rate approximately equal to that in Honduras, the poorest nation in Latin America, the report noted. Infant-mortality rates were also seen rising in Maine, Alabama, and Ohio.

The report focused on the effects of federal funding reductions for Medicaid, the Title V maternal- and child-health block grant, and the Community Health Centers programs. "Our findings are so disturbing that we wanted to bring them to the attention of the President and Congress, governors, and state legislators before fiscal 1984 budget decisions are made that could add to the suffering of poor children and their families," the report said.

U.S. Seeks Reversal Of Court Settlement In New Orleans Case

The Justice Department has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to overturn a court settlement in which the city of New Orleans agreed to promote equal numbers of black and white police officers.

The Reagan Administration, in a move that was criticized by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, said the affirmative-action plan violated the equal-protection guarantees of the Constitution and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The plan "constitutes an inequitable infringement on the interests of innocent non-black employees," the department's court papers said.

The Administration recently opposed affirmative action in layoffs for police and firefighters in a Boston case, which is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court and is being watched closely by officials of teachers' unions. The civil-rights commission said both cases show that the Administration is seeking "to reverse decisions in virtually every federal circuit upholding affirmative action, including quotas, as an essential remedy for race, sex, and national-origin discrimination."

President Returns To Inner-City Parochial School

President Reagan returned to an inner-city, predominantly black Catholic school in Chicago last week, praising it for solving its financial problems without turning to the government for help.

"Here at Providence-St. Mel, you are providing a lesson in leadership," the President said after accepting the voluntary national chairmanship of the school's $6.5-million fund-raising campaign. "You lit a candle here, and we saw it all the way in Washington."

The President visited the school last spring while in the city to address the National Catholic Educational Association's annual convention, where he unveiled his ill-fated tuition-tax-credit plan.

The school has operated without financial assistance from the Archdiocese of Chicago since 1978, remaining solvent only by means of charitable donations. School officials said that the President's visit there last year helped the school raise more than $100,000.

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