WASHINGTON - Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee today took steps to cut millions in funding from international family planning programs and restrict access to critical reproductive health and abortion services through the “global gag rule.” Passage came despite amendments introduced by women’s health champions to permanently repeal “the global gag rule,” a policy rider that disqualifies the most experienced family planning organizations around the world from receiving U.S. funding, and to restore funds for family planning programs that currently help 27 million women and couples around the world access birth control.
“As the public health threat from Zika intensifies globally, it makes the almost 225 million women in around the globe who do not have access to modern contraceptives impossible to ignore,” said Dana Singiser, Vice President, Public Policy and Government Affairs, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Investing in family planning is effective, and each year it helps save the lives of tens of thousands of women and girls around the globe. It is long past time for Congressional Republicans to heed the guidance of medical experts and bring down barriers to modern contraceptive methods that meet women’s individual needs.
“We applaud Representative Nita Lowey for her continued work to repeal the “global gag rule,” Representative Tim Ryan for his amendment to restore funding for international family planning programs, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro for her amendment to protect support for UNFPA. We need leaders like them to continue the fight for women’s health and rights no matter where they live.”
The Fiscal Year 2017 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill caps international family planning at $461 million – a cut of almost $150 million from current levels.This provision would result in millions of women losing access to contraceptive services and reproductive health care access, leading to a rise in risky abortions, and maternal deaths.
The bill also eliminates and bars U.S. contributions to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a top global provider of family planning and reproductive health services, and the leading agency working to address the reproductive health needs in Zika-affected countries; and reimposes the “global gag rule,” which blocks organizations receiving U.S. foreign aid from providing access to comprehensive reproductive health information and services.
The “global gag rule” (also known as the Mexico City Policy) was originally put in place by President Reagan in 1984. It withheld U.S. family planning funding from any foreign organizations that offered abortion information, referrals, or services with their own, non-U.S. funds. Foreign organizations also had to give up their right to advocate for abortion-related policy change in their own country as a condition of receiving U.S. family planning assistance. The global gag rule has played politics with women’s health and lives for over 30 years and causes serious harm in countries around the world. Members of both parties in the House and the Senate, along with 112 diverse organizations, oppose efforts to reinstate the harmful global gag rule and support an end to this failed policy. Click here to watch Cecile Richards explain the history and impact of the “global gag rule.”
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
July 13, 2016