34 Million Friends of UNFPA

May 14, 2012 • Family Planning, United States, Daily Email Recap

Here are some thoughts from Jane Roberts, co-founder of the 34 Million Friends of the United Nations Population Fund. Before you read Jane’s words, remember that House Republicans recently released a fiscal year 2013 spending bill for foreign aid and other State Department programs that includes a rider to reinstate the so-called “global gag rule.” The rule, which President Obama lifted through an executive order in 2009, blocks U.S. foreign aid to countries or organizations that use their own money to offer abortion services or support abortion rights.

Jane writes:

On July 22, 2012, 34 Million Friends of the United Nations Population Fund (www.34millionfriends.org) will celebrate (if that is the right word) its 10th anniversary.

July 22, 2002 was the day then Secretary of State Colin Powell announced that the Bush Administration was not going to release the $34 million Congress had approved for UNFPA. That was the day Lois Abraham and I, independently of each other, started asking 34 million Americans for at least one dollar. 34 Million Friends has to date raised $4.2 million. We are still going!

I view women’s access to health and to all that the term “reproductive health” entails as central to any hope for people, the planet and peace in the decades to come. I am proud to say that family planning is at the core of UNFPA’s work. I also have the strong opinion that talking about population in a vacuum without alluding to the nitty gritty of what it takes to provide universal access to FP does more harm than good. And I am of the strong opinion that gender inequality is the paramount reason for the hundreds of millions of women who lack access.

34 Million Friends has become an educational tool for alerting people here in the U.S. and to some extent around the world about gender inequality and how it relates to population and for linking access to reproductive health and choices to any chance at all for environmental sustainability and peace. The women of the world and I would greatly appreciate members of this list-serv spreading the word. It’s time for 34 Million American people to take a stand.

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