The Planned Parenthood Federation of America applauds the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, under the leadership of Chairman John Kerry (D-MA), for defeating an extreme anti-abortion amendment to the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), which aims to enhance U.S. efforts to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls.
The defeated amendment would have significantly altered existing policy on abortion. During a markup session of IVAWA today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 11 to 8 to reject an amendment offered by Senator Wicker (R-MS), that would have barred organizations that receive funding under the act from using their own funds to perform or advocate for abortions, a policy that is akin to the Mexico City Policy, also known as the global gag rule.
“This is a resounding victory for all who believe that the International Violence Against Women Act should focus on protecting and empowering women and their families to avoid and recover from violent situations,” said Mary-Jane Wagle, vice president for international programs of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “That’s why Planned Parenthood applauds the 11 senators on the committee for defeating this extreme anti-abortion amendment that would have significantly altered existing law on abortion and prohibited U.S. government officials from taking part in international policy conversations that touched on abortion as part of women’s health care. We especially commend Senator Gillibrand’s leadership in ensuring this important legislation moves forward without compromising women’s reproductive health and rights.”
In addition, the bill would have codified and dramatically expanded upon the Siljander amendment to the FY 2006 Appropriations Act, which currently restricts U.S. funds from being used to “lobby for or against abortion.” The Wicker amendment to IVAWA would have restricted “any activity or effort to alter the laws or policies” related to abortion. Such excessively vague language could have limited U.S. officials from taking part in international conferences hosted by the G-8, G-20 or United Nations if the agenda included abortion, and would have prohibited government officials in partner countries from taking part in discussions around abortion policy in their own countries if their positions were funded, even in part, by this program.
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 700 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
May 14, 2014