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House Blocks UNFPA Funds
Planned Parenthood Condemns Action, Which Will Result in The Maiming of Thousands of Women Each Year
NEW YORK CITY — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today denounced the U.S. House Appropriations Committee for its failure to stand up for the health and safety of women around the world. The committee voted down an amendment offered by Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI) to provide funding to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, but only for the prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula, a devastating pregnancy-related injury. The vote count was 30-23.
"Thousands of women will needlessly suffer from this easily preventable and devastating injury as a result of this unconscionable vote," said PPFA President Cecile Richards. "Denying funding for programs that prevent childbearing injuries shows how far some politicians will go to promote extremist ideology over the health and safety of women."
Obstetric fistulas result from complications in childbirth and lack of access medical care. Most cases lead to stillbirths and the maiming of women who lose control of their bodily functions. The condition, which has been eradicated in wealthier nations, affects as many as 50,000-100,000 of the most vulnerable women in poor societies.
UNFPA's Campaign to End Fistula, launched in 2003, operates in 40 countries to prevent fistula, to treat women who are affected, and to support women after surgery to correct the problem. Despite previous support for UNFPA in both the House and Senate, the Bush administration has withheld nearly $150 million in UNFPA funding appropriated by Congress.
"This administration has mounted a political campaign against reproductive health care, victimizing the most vulnerable women in society," added Richards. "In the five years that the administration has stripped UNFPA of funding, nearly two million unintended pregnancies, almost 5,000 maternal deaths, and more than 75,000 infant and child deaths could have been prevented."