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Extreme Politicians Approve Funding Bills that “defund” Planned Parenthood, End Nation’s Family Planning Program and Slash Funding for International Family Planning and UNFPA

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Planned Parenthood Federation of America condemned funding bills approved by the House Appropriations Committee last night that would be devastating for women and their access to health care both in the United States and around the world. Despite objections from women’s health champions, the Committee passed the Fiscal Year 2018 Labor-Health and Human Services appropriations bill, which would cut women off from Planned Parenthood’s preventive services, end health care access for the 4 million people who rely on the nation’s family planning program, and eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. The Committee also passed the FY 2018 State and Foreign Operations bill, which would slash U.S. funding for international family planning by nearly $150 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 Labor-HHS bill, women’s health champions Ranking Member Nita Lowey (NY-17), Reps. Clark (MA-5), Lee (CA-13), Pocan (WI-2), and Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), with the backing of subcommittee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), offered amendments to restore access to reproductive health care and strike harmful, ideological women’s health policy riders from the bill.  Ranking Member Lowey and Rep. Lee also offered amendments to the State and Foreign Operations bill to strike the expanded global gag rule and funding prohibition on UNFPA and increase funding for international family planning.

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

If adopted by Congress, the funding bills passed by the House Appropriations Committee today would endanger women’s health and lives here in the United States and across the globe. We’ve made incredible progress for women over the past decade: Fifty-five million women now have access to no-copay birth control, and the rates of unintended pregnancy and teen pregnancy are at historic lows. Around the world, we have made strides to bring down maternal mortality and prevent unintended pregnancy. These appropriations bills would undermine that progress - taking women backward.

“The Labor-HHS Appropriations bill is more extreme than even the Trump administration’s own budget: It would prevent millions of people from coming to Planned Parenthood for basic health care, and completely eliminate Title X — the nation’s only federal program for birth control that 4 million women rely on each year.

“Meanwhile, the State and Foreign Operations bill would slash funding for international family planning and codify the expanded global gag rule. Reducing U.S. investments in family planning will put women's lives at risk. What is most absurd is that the sponsors perversely defend these measures as protecting life when in fact thousands of women may die in pregnancy and childbirth because of them.

“The American people will not stand for more attempts to hurt women, and neither should Congress. Congressional leaders must reject these bills. It’s time for DC politicians to learn, you cannot win by trading away women’s health and lives.

Among other dangerous provisions for women, the FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill would:

  • Single out and attack women who access Planned Parenthood for basic, preventive health care. This bill would prevent Planned Parenthood from participating in ANY program funded through Congress’s annual Labor-HHS bill. This includes not just Medicaid, but the Title X program, Zika prevention programs, HIV prevention grants, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grants to prevent sexual assault, successful sex education programs, the CDC National Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program, maternal and child health programs, STD and infertility prevention grants, and more.

  • End the Title X family planning program. Title X is the only federal program solely dedicated to birth control. Ending the program goes even further than the president’s budget, and would be a devastating blow for the four million young people, uninsured, and women with low incomes who rely on Title X for basic reproductive health care.

  • Eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and funds abstinence-only education programs. Despite the progress we’ve made in helping teens stay safe and healthy -- rates of unintended pregnancy among teens in the U.S. have reached a historic low and more young people are delaying sexual activity and using birth control when they do have sex -- the budget would eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. It also includes abstinence-only programs, an increase of $5 million, which puts young people's health at risk, and are not based in evidence or offer accurate medical information.

  • Allow employers, insurance companies, and hospitals to discriminate against women seeking reproductive health care. Opposed by major medical associations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it would place harmful limitations on access to abortion, even if medically necessary to save a woman’s life or health, and put a woman’s health at serious risk in emergency situations.

  • Continue harmful policy riders to restrict abortion access, including the harmful Hyde amendment that discriminates against poor women and women of color by prohibiting Medicaid from covering abortion.

The FY 2018 State and Foreign Operations bill includes proposed cuts to international family planning funding projected to result in 6.37 million fewer women and couples receiving contraception, nearly two million more unintended pregnancies, 808,000 more abortions, and nearly 3,700 more maternal deaths. The ban on U.S. support to UNFPA cuts funding to their vital work in 150 countries, where they provide reproductive and maternal health services for the most vulnerable women, especially those who are in conflict and humanitarian settings. The bill takes an unprecedented step of codifying the expanded  global gag rule, for the first time ever, targets international organizations who work on any U.S. funded global health program, including HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, maternal and child health, and Zika programs. From now on, these groups will be banned from all global health funding from the U.S. government if they also happen to provide counseling, referrals, or services for safe and legal abortion – even with their own 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.