Once again members of Congress are playing politics with women's health around the world. Politicians with an ideological view of family planning are now trying to cut funding for contraception, reinstate the Global Gag Rule and ban funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
When he came into office President Obama overturned the harmful Global Gag Rule, which severely limits access to family planning and other reproductive health services in developing countries. President Obama and our Congressional champions have also worked hard to preserve support for U.S. international family planning programs and UNFPA. This funding accounts for only a small fraction of 1 percent of our budget and saves hundreds of thousands of lives.
In order to block these harmful cuts and policy restrictions, Senate leaders will need to stay strong as the bills move through Congress. We're asking Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, Senator Barbara Mikulski, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senator Patrick Leahy, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, to stand up for family planning programs.
Sign our petition now to ask the Senate to continue to stand up for international family planning!
I strongly support the U.S. investment in international family planning programs and I want to thank you for your steadfast leadership on these issues. Please ensure that these programs are not subjected to ideologically-driven funding cuts or new policy restrictions in the fiscal year 2015 spending bill.
While I was pleased that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill that strongly supports family planning and reproductive health, including an amendment to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule, I am deeply concerned that the House Committee is moving forward a bill that cuts nearly $150 million in funding for these critical programs. Their bill also reinstates the Global Gag Rule and bans funding to the United Nations Population Fund.
If the Senate allows these harmful funding cuts and policy restrictions to move forward the consequences would be devastating. There are 222 million women in developing countries who would like to avoid or delay pregnancy, but do not have access to contraceptives. Cutting international family planning funding prevents us from helping to meet the needs of these women. It also undermines efforts to lower maternal mortality rates, reduce unintended pregnancies, and improve the health and lives of women, and their communities.
In addition, reinstating the Global Gag Rule and banning funding to UNFPA denies funding to some of the most experienced, effective and respected providers of family planning services in the developing world. These ideological cuts and restrictions only threaten the health of women and their families in developing countries. .
Please continue to stand up for women and families -- support strong and effective funding for international family planning programs and reject any efforts to reinstate the Global Gag Rule or other damaging policy restrictions.
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