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Shaheen Amendment Repealing Global Gag Rule & Restoring International Family Planning Funds Passes Appropriations Committee

(WASHINGTON, DC) – A key amendment to restore funding for international family planning and reproductive health offered by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) was approved in a full committee markup of the Senate Committee on Appropriations today. The amendment was added to the FY2016 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill.

“An estimated 225 million women in developing countries are unable to access family planning services,” said Shaheen. “Providing greater access to family planning and reproductive health services improves the health of mothers and children, empowers women to make their own choices about how to grow their families, and is a smart investment that helps reduce poverty.”

The amendment restores funding for international family planning and reproductive health which was drastically cut in the underlying bill. The bill prohibited any funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The Shaheen amendment allocates $35 million for UNFPA, which works to ensure all people are able to access high quality reproductive health, and operates in over 150 countries around the world, including those in which USAID does not have family planning programs.

Another provision of Senator Shaheen’s amendment permanently repeals the Global Gag Rule, which had been included in the underlying bill. The Global Gag Rule denies US financial aid for contraception and family planning services to any organization that uses its own funding to perform or advise women about legal abortion. Studies have shown induced abortions have increased when the Gag Rule is in effect. Shaheen’s amendment would codify a policy, currently enforced by an executive order issued by President Obama, to repeal the Global Gag Rule.

Text of the Shaheen amendment is available here.