Senate Stands up for Women Around the World
Passes Clinton Amendment to Restore Essential International Family Planning Funds to UNFPA
WASHINGTON, DC — In a victory for woman throughout the developing world, today the United States Senate passed an amendment that takes the first step to restoring much-needed U.S. funding to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. The amendment, which was sponsored by Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), was accepted by unanimous consent.
UNFPA is the only multilateral agency dedicated to providing family planning and reproductive health care services worldwide. The Bush administration has withheld funding to the organization for the past three years, alleging that the agency's relief efforts in China violate "Kemp-Kasten," a vaguely-worded U.S. law that prohibits U.S. funding of coercive abortion and forced sterilization. In actuality, UNFPA does the opposite — it is working with the Chinese government to eliminate coercive practices and to promote voluntary family planning and birth control methods. This has been confirmed by several groups sent to monitor the situation, including a fact-finding team hand-picked by the Bush administration.
"Planned Parenthood applauds the Senate for taking this essential step to increase family planning, maternity, and reproductive health services for women around the world" said Karen Pearl, interim president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). "UNPFA provides lifesaving reproductive health services to women and men with no other health care options, those most vulnerable and in need, and the United States should contribute to these efforts-not work against them."
UNFPA estimates that the U.S. contribution to UNFPA would prevent two million unwanted pregnancies, nearly 800,000 abortions, 4,700 maternal deaths and 77,000 infant and child deaths each year.