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The Senate Appropriations Committee today advanced a bipartisan amendment to permanently repeal “the global gag rule” as well as restore funding for international family planning programs into the bill, including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Contraceptive access internationally is especially urgent as countries around the globe struggle to address the spread of Zika virus. Yesterday, the Senate failed to pass a Zika relief bill as a result of partisan maneuvering that restricted funding for family planning and providers.

Senator Shaheen’s pro-women’s health amendment was adopted by a vote of 17 to 13 with bipartisan support from every Democrat on the committee and from Republican Senators Kirk, Collins, and Murkowski.


A House subcommittee is slated to consider a similar underlying proposal in their FY17 State, Foreign-Operations Appropriations bill.

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


“Today’s mark-up shows that bipartisan action is possible when it comes to family planning. That’s a lesson Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan could stand to learn when it comes to addressing the looming public health crisis of Zika. Investing in family planning is effective, and each year helps save the lives of tens of thousands of women and girls around the globe.

“We thank Senator Shaheen for her leadership in defeating anti-women’s health provisions like the global gag rule which is as wrong today as it ever was.  We need leaders like her and Senator Leahy to continue the fight to for women’s health and rights whether they live here or abroad.”

The U.S. international family planning program and the contribution to UNFPA is cost-effective and delivers real results: 27 million women receive access to contraceptives; 6 million unintended pregnancies averted;  2.3 million induced abortions averted (2 million of them unsafe); and 11,000 maternal deaths averted annually. Such gains would be seriously jeopardized if the severe cuts proposed to this already modest funding were enacted, at a time when the outbreak of Zika in Latin America and the Caribbean has already exposed the dire lack of reproductive health services available.


About the global gag rule:

The global gag rule (also known as the Mexico City Policy) was originally put in place by President Reagan in 1984. It withheld U.S. family planning funding from any foreign organizations that offered abortion information, referrals, or services with their own, non-U.S. funds. Foreign organizations also had to give up their right to advocate for abortion-related policy change in their own country as a condition of receiving U.S. family planning assistance. The global gag rule has played politics with women’s health and lives for over 30 years and causes serious harm in countries around the world. Bipartisan members in the House and the Senate, along with 112 diverse organizations, oppose efforts to reinstate the harmful global gag rule and support an end to this failed policy.  Click here to watch Cecile Richards explain the history and impact of the global gag rule.


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 approximately 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


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June 30, 2016