WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations passed a budget bill that increases funding and protections for reproductive health and rights across the globe. The FY 2021 State and Foreign Operations (SFOPs) bill would increase U.S. funding for international family planning programs, restore and increase assistance to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and fully repeal the expanded and harmful global gag rule.
Opponents of reproductive health offered an amendment to try to strip these important provisions from the bill, which was soundly rejected along party lines 29 - 21. Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY-17), Representatives Lois Frankel (D-FL-21), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI-14), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-23), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12) offered powerful remarks about the urgent need to repeal the global gag rule, restore our partnership with UNFPA, and expand access to family planning globally.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“As the administration doubles down on efforts to withhold funding from UNFPA and expand the global gag rule, Chairwoman Lowey and other health care champions in the House offer a welcome alternative vision of what U.S. leadership and engagement on sexual and reproductive health could look like. This bill would end the global gag rule once and for all and invest in UNFPA and other family planning partners, expanding access to life-saving services and sending a resounding message that reproductive health services are essential. At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged health systems around the world, we need policies like these that help build and strengthen health care access instead of undermining it.”
The SFOPs bill includes:
$750 million for family planning — an increase of $175 million above the FY 2020 enacted level and $513 million above the president’s budget request.
$55.5 million for the United Nations Population Fund — an increase of $23 million above the FY 2020 enacted level and $55.5 million above the president’s budget request.
The Global HER Act, which would permanently repeal the global gag rule and it also includes a prohibition on current and prior funds from being used to implement the Mexico City Policy.
Other smaller, but meaningful policy changes to ensure family planning is treated the same as other global health programs when it comes to aid exemptions and the use of the HIV/AIDS Working Capital Fund to effectively purchase family planning products.
The bill continues to reiterate additional abortion restrictions for foreign assistance, which we hope to see repealed in the future to remove barriers to legal abortion for people around the world.
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.
For more than 45 years, Planned Parenthood Global has supported access to sexual and reproductive health care and advocated for reproductive rights around the world. In partnership with more than 100 organizations across 9 focus countries in Africa and Latin America, we advance the health and rights of young people, women and families, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable and underserved. Last year, our partners provided over 1.8 million people with sexual and reproductive health information and services. Our unique sustainability model sets us apart, as we empower partners to stand on their own. We help grassroots organizations develop solid reproductive health programs, identify other sources of funding, build their communications and advocacy skills, and develop strategic plans. Planned Parenthood Global is the international arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.