Earlier this afternoon (7/24/13), the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee voted to approve a bill that includes dangerous cuts to international family planning and destructive policy “riders.” The legislation is virtually identical to last year’s House bill in its hostile funding and policy provisions. As Yogi Berra famously observed, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
The committee-approved bill, which funds the State Department operations and U.S. foreign assistance programs, places a ceiling on funding for family planning and reproductive health programs at $461 million. The size of the cut is $94 million less than current levels and $174 million less than the President’s budget request. The bill also includes destructive, ideological policy restrictions that undermine access to contraception for poor women in the developing world. These include a legislative reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule and a prohibition on a U.S. contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the lead UN agency on reproductive health issues.
While the bill provides important funding for global HIV/AIDS programs through PEPFAR and the Global Fund and maternal and child health programs, U.S. efforts to achieve an AIDS-free generation and improve maternal and child health are undermined by the deep cuts to family planning/reproductive health and imposition of harmful policy riders.
Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) detailed the negative impact of these short-sighted anti-family planning attacks in her opening statement, saying: “…reinstatement of the global gag rule, funding ban on the UNFPA, and reduction in support for bilateral family planning efforts are simply unacceptable. These policies are proven to do the exact opposite of what we all hope to achieve: fewer unwanted pregnancies and fewer abortions. The majority’s insistence on policies and funding levels that are diametrically opposed to our shared goals is inexplicable. It is unconscionable that anyone would insist on these cuts and policy riders…”
In order to counter the inclusion of the language legislatively reinstating the Global Gag Rule when the text of the committee’s draft bill was made public last Thursday, Congresswoman Lowey and 114 cosponsors introduced the Global Democracy Promotion Act (H.R. 2738). The freestanding bill aims to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule and prevent a future President, hostile to family planning, from reinstating the policy unilaterally.
To read the full statement from Population Action International, please click here: http://tinyurl.com/
Current World Population
Net Growth During Your Visit