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Rye, New York — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the United Nations Foundation (UNF), Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic (PPHP), and constituents today honored Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) for her leadership on international family planning with the first yearly “International Family Planning Hero” award.

While in Congress, Rep. Lowey, who serves as the chair of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, has worked to increase the level of funding for international reproductive health programs to an all-time high of $648.5 million in the Fiscal Year 2010 House Appropriations bill. She has also fought consistently against the global gag rule and successfully restored U.S. funding to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

Providing family planning makes it possible for women to have timely, intended, well-spaced pregnancies, ensures that families will be more able to provide for the children who are born, and reduces hunger and malnutrition in children.

“It is truly an honor to recognize Congresswoman Lowey for her dedication and leadership in advancing reproductive health and rights on behalf of women around the world,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “For the past 20 years she has been a consistent champion and ally in advocating for increased access to reproductive health care and information. We thank her for her leadership and look forward to continuing our work together to better the lives of women and girls everywhere.”

"Women in developing countries continue to suffer most gravely from prevailing global challenges like poverty, conflict and climate change. Leaders like Nita Lowey are essential to help guarantee that reproductive rights, equity and empowerment remain top priorities in our foreign policy efforts," said Kathy Bushkin Calvin, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the United Nations Foundation. "Congresswoman Lowey embodies the idea that women have the power to make our world a better place. Her consistent leadership and support for global reproductive health initiatives has made, and continues to make, a significant impact on the future of our planet and on the lives of women and families everywhere."

“Congresswoman Lowey understands the importance of access to reproductive health care throughout the world because access improves a woman’s quality of life. Whether here in New York, or abroad, she is a champion for the needs of the most vulnerable and poorest women and girls, and committed to empowering them to determine their reproductive futures,” said Reina Schiffrin, president/CEO of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic.

Congresswoman Lowey is currently serving her 11th term in Congress, representing parts of Westchester and Rockland Counties. She was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1988 and served in the Democratic Leadership in 2001 and 2002 as the first woman and the first New Yorker to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Increasing access to maternal and reproductive health services to poor women is critical in our efforts to alleviate suffering and strengthen families around the world,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “I am grateful for this honor and I look forward to working with Planned Parenthood and the United Nations Foundation as we continue our work to expand women’s access to comprehensive health care services.”

A member of the House Appropriations Committee, Lowey serves as chairwoman of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee and a senior member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee, the Homeland Security Subcommittee, and the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel.

PPFA President Cecile Richards, UNF Executive Vice President/COO Kathy Bushkin Calvin, PPHP President/CEO Reina Schiffrin and representatives from Global South and International Planned Parenthood Federation were on hand to present the award and thank Rep. Lowey for her work on behalf of women and girls 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 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


Brannon Jordan, PPFA, 202-973-4882

Yolanda Johnny Taylor, UNF, 202-778-1630

Beverly Katz, PPHP, 914-467-7341



October 17, 2011