Congress should reject harmful anti-women’s health measures included in the FY17 State, Foreign-Operations Appropriations bill, including attempts to reinstate the “global gag rule,” which interferes with women served by U.S. foreign aid from accessing or even getting basic information about reproductive health care, and to completely ban U.S. contributions to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the world’s principal multilateral provider of family planning and reproductive health services and the leading agency working to address the reproductive health needs of women in Zika affected countries.

 

The bill also includes severe cuts to the U.S. international family planning program, which is known to be cost-effective and deliver real results including 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 are 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.

 

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

 

Opponents of women’s health have once again proposed harmful cuts and policy riders that would devastate international family planning programs and the women around the world who rely on them. Now is the time to scale up our investments in UNFPA and international family planning programs and remove policy barriers in order to deliver for women the care they urgently need. At the center of the urgent public health emergency posed by Zika are the 225 million women in developing countries who want to prevent a pregnancy, but face significant barriers to obtaining and using modern contraceptive methods that meet their individual needs. We’re ready to join our allies in Congress to combat these harmful cuts and policy riders.

 

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.