Planned Parenthood commends the Senate Appropriations Committee and the leadership of Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Relations, and Related Programs chair Sen.
Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for their strong support of international family planning programs. In stark contrast to the House version that would slash and restrict funds, the Senate FY13 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill would increase the budget for family planning programs in developing countries, protect U.S. contributions to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and permanently eliminate the global gag rule. The bill also amends the abortion ban in place for Peace Corps volunteers, allowing volunteers the same rights as Peace Corps employees to access abortion in the cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.
“Today Senator Leahy and the Senate Appropriations Committee reminded us that politics should never get in the way of women’s access to basic services anywhere in the world.” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Birth control is an essential, lifesaving part of women’s health care, and that makes it a bipartisan issue.”
During the debate, Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) proposed a successful amendment that would permanently prohibit future presidents from reinstating the global gag rule. Under this Reagan- and Bush-era prohibition, no U.S. family planning assistance funding could be given to organizations that provide abortion services, offer counseling and referrals for abortions, or advocate legal abortion access in their own countries — even if they do so with their own funds. President Obama repealed the global gag rule in his first week in office.
“Planned Parenthood opposed the global gag rule when it was in place and continues to oppose any attempts to reinstate it through new legislation,” said Richards. “We applaud Senator Lautenberg and his colleagues for their work to ensure that this dangerous policy is never again used to restrict women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care.”
Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), and John Tester (D-MT) cosponsored Sen. Lautenberg’s amendment, which passed with the help of three Republican votes.
May 24, 2012
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
May 24, 2012