WASHINGTON — Today, Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans revealed 12 draft spending bills to fund the government through September 30, 2021, and unsurprisingly, many of their priorities are alarmingly out of step with the will of the country. Written with complete disregard for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the message sent by voters who demanded a new direction on health policy, the bills would dangerously leave both the country and foreign aid programs without essential resources. The bills fail to protect access to sexual and reproductive health care at home and abroad, they fail to provide meaningful relief for the millions suffering from the health and economic devastation of COVID-19, and they fail to advance racial justice, among other shortcomings.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“The Senate majority is once again proving they are not interested in protecting our health or rights, much less in advancing them. Millions of voters just showed up in record numbers to make their voices heard during this election, and they demanded change. They chose President-elect Biden because they want a government that cares about their lives, their health care, their economic security, and their futures. It’s deeply disappointing that the Senate majority is refusing to listen to the people, but remains committed to undermining reproductive health and rights. With just a month until the government runs out of funding, the Senate should stop thwarting the needs of their constituents and work with the House on providing families across the U.S. and around the world with the resources they deserve.”
The bills include:
- A number of restrictions on abortion coverage, including the discriminatory Hyde Amendment
- Level funding and no protections for the Title X family planning program, a silent endorsement of the Trump administration’s unlawful, unethical domestic gag rule
- A significant increase in funding for dangerous abstinence-only education with no commensurate increase for the evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program
- Codification of the harmful and radically expanded global gag rule, which disrupts access to health care and silences advocates around the world.
- Significant cuts of nearly $150 million dollars from international family planning programs.
- Prohibition on funding for UNFPA, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency which is working to address the needs of women and girls in more than 150 countries worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Prohibition on the District of Columbia using locally raised tax dollars to pay for abortions for low-income people residing in Washington, D.C.
Shockingly absent from the bills were:
- Even a mention of the novel coronavirus or the COVID-19 pandemic in the entire Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) and State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs (SFOPs) bills
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.