Shaheen Amendment Repealing Global Gag Rule & Restoring International Family Planning Funds Passes Appropriations Committee on a Bipartisan Vote
**Shaheen: Expanding access to family planning and reproductive health services around the globe empowers women**June 29, 2016
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – A key amendment to restore funding for international family planning and reproductive health offered by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) was approved by 17-13 in a full committee markup of the Senate Committee on Appropriations today. The amendment was added to the FY2017 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.
“Expanding access to family planning and reproductive health services around the globe empowers women,” said Senator Shaheen. “Family planning gives women control to plan if, and when, to grow their families, improves long-term health of mothers and children, and creates a lasting economic benefit. An estimated 225 million women in developing countries around the world want to avoid pregnancy, but they lack access to or information on family planning. When we increase access to these services, we are empowering women to make important decisions about their futures and, in turn, they are more likely to achieve gender equity, engage politically and contribute to the economic growth in their community. It’s a smart investment that helps reduce the cycle of poverty globally.”
Shaheen’s amendment restores funding for international family planning and reproductive health through USAID Family Planning programs, which was drastically cut in the underlying bill, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which was prohibited from receiving funding in the underlying bill. The Shaheen amendment allocates $37.5 million for UNFPA, which works to ensure all people are able to access high quality reproductive health services and operates in over 150 countries around the world, including those in which USAID does not have family planning programs. In addition, the amendment includes a provision to ensure USAID’s family planning and reproductive health programs can continue in a country if foreign assistance is withheld for other reasons.
Studies have shown that every dollar invested in family planning creates savings in developing nations, ranging from $2 in Ethiopia to more than $6 in Guatemala and Bangladesh, and $9 in Bolivia.
Shaheen’s amendment also permanently repeals the Global Gag Rule, which had been included in the underlying bill. The Global Gag Rule prohibits U.S. 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. The amendment would codify a policy, currently enforced by an executive order issued by President Obama, to repeal the Global Gag Rule.
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