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Senators of both parties reject attacks on international women’s health programs in State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON - Today, Senate Appropriations Committee members on both sides of the aisle came together to pass an amendment protecting access to basic health care for women and families around the world, while blocking many of the dangerous attacks on international reproductive health care programs being waged by the Trump-Pence administration and ideologues in Congress. The amendment led by Sens. Shaheen and Durbin passed 16 - 15 and was cosponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy, Patty Murray, Dianne Feinstein, Tammy Baldwin, Chris Van Hollen, Jeff Merkley, and Chris Murphy, and supported by Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.  

Despite the objections of women’s health champions, the House Appropriations Committee just yesterday advanced a version of this legislation that would 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.

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

While the Trump-Pence administration and their allies in the Congress are hell-bent on attacking women’s health and rights at every turn, senators on both sides of the aisle are fighting to protect reproductive health care access for women and girls around the globe. We applaud members of the Senate Appropriations Committee for working to ensure robust funding for international family planning and block the dangerous global gag rule that was expanded by the Trump-Pence administration. We are grateful to Sens. Shaheen, Durbin, and Leahy for leading the charge to increase these crucial U.S. investments in family planning and access to reproductive health care for women worldwide, and thank Sens. Collins and Murkowski for supporting the amendment. These measures will save women’s lives.

In one of his first acts as president, Trump reinstated an unprecedented expansion of the global gag rule, which bars international organizations that work on any U.S.-funded global health program — including HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, maternal and child health, and malaria programs — from providing abortion services, referral, or counseling, or advocating for abortion access. The policy is opposed by 70 percent of Americans and more than 160 diverse organizations. Combined with Trump’s move to eliminate U.S. contributions to UNFPA and drastically cut international family planning programs, this policy harms the world’s most vulnerable women and undermines years of efforts to improve women’s health worldwide.

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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.