House Vote Shows Disregard for Women Around the World
Defeats Maloney Amendment to Restore Essential International Family Planning Funds to UNFPA
WASHINGTON, DC — Today the House of Representatives voted against an amendment that would have restored much-needed U.S. funding to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund by a vote of 233 to 192. The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and co-sponsored by Rep. Shays (R-CT), Rep. Crowley (D-NY), and Rep. Israel (D-NY).
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 by alleging that the agency, with its relief efforts in China, is violating "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.
"In a world where 350 million couples lack access to effective family planning methods, the Unites States cannot in good conscience continue to deny funding to UNFPA," said Karen Pearl, interim president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). "UNFPA is on the front lines, providing birth control, HIV-prevention methods, prenatal care and delivery assistance in parts of the world where health care is scarce. The U.S. government should be applauding UNFPA, not denying it funds based on false pretenses."
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.