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Dangerous bill slashes funding for international family planning and enshrines harmful global gag rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the House Appropriations Committee approved a funding bill that will devastate women’s access to health care around the world. The FY 2019 State and Foreign Operations (SFOPs) bill will slash U.S. funding for international family planning by over $100 million, prohibit funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and codify an expanded version of the harmful global gag rule.

As the committee considered the SFOPs bill, women’s health champions including Ranking Member Nita Lowey (NY-17) and Reps. Tim Ryan (OH-13), Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Katherine Clark (MA-5) offered amendments to restore access to reproductive health care around the world, strike these harmful, ideological policy riders from the bill, and fight back against some of the administration’s extreme attacks on reproductive rights globally.

Statement from Dana Singiser, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

Attacking women’s access to health care around the world has been a top priority of the Trump-Pence administration and House leadership since day one. The bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee today will continue those attacks and result in more unintended pregnancies and higher maternal death rates across the globe. We applaud women’s health champions, including Reps. Nita Lowey, Barbara Lee, Tim Ryan, and Katherine Clark, for their proactive work to try to end the global gag rule, expand access to family planning worldwide, and defend reproductive rights for all. Congress must oppose the harmful anti-women’s health measures included in this bill.

The FY 2019 SFOPs bill includes proposed cuts to international family planning funding that are projected to result in more than six million fewer women and couples receiving contraception, nearly two million more unintended pregnancies, over 776,000 more abortions, and over 3,500 more maternal deaths. The ban on U.S. support to UNFPA cuts vital funding for work in more than 150 countries, where it provides lifesaving reproductive and maternal health services for vulnerable women, especially those who are in conflict and humanitarian settings.

The bill also enshrines the radically expanded global gag rule, which restricts international organizations that work on any U.S.-funded global health program, including HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, tuberculosis, malaria, reproductive health care, and maternal and child health programs. The global gag rule bans these groups from all global health funding from the U.S. government if they also provide counseling, referrals, or services for safe, legal abortion or advocate for abortion reforms in their own country using non-U.S. funding.

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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 more than 600 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.