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Senator Collins votes to preserve Title X, UNFPA funding; rescind Global Gag Rule

Portland, Maine –– In a bipartisan vote the Senate Appropriations Committee passed bills protecting international and domestic family planning and reproductive health care. Senator Collins, a member of the committee, voted for all the measures.

“Access to reproductive health care is essential for the health of women and girls in the US and across the globe and we are fortunate to have Senator Collins leading the way,” said Nicole Clegg, Vice President of Public Policy for the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund. “Federal programs like Title X and International Family Planning have saved countless lives and given women the opportunity to pursue careers, complete their education, and plan when to start a family.”

In bipartisan votes, the Senate committee voted to:

  • Overturn the Trump Administration’s enhanced Global Gag Rule and limit any future president’s power to reinstate it;

  • Restore U.S. contributions to UNFPA, the United Nation’s family planning program which provides reproductive health care in 150 countries

  • Maintain current funding level for the Title X program, which provide comprehensive family planning and preventive health services to nearly 5 million people in the U.S. and ensured that the program is administered according to best medical practices

  • Allocated $108 million for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention program

In July, the Trump administration abruptly cut grant funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and shortened the grant periods for Title X family planning programs, creating uncertainty that can impact the effectiveness and viability of sex education and reproductive health care programs that people depend on. ​The version of the Labor-HHS legislation being considered in the House this week includes language that completely eliminates the nation’s family planning program for fiscal year 2018.​

In January, 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. This policy, combined with Trump’s proposal to eliminate all funding for international family planning programs and UNFPA, leaves the the world’s most vulnerable women to suffer and undermines years of efforts to improve women’s health worldwide.