Congressional Fiscal Year 2022 Spending Bill Fails to Advance Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Abroad
PAI is deeply disappointed in the fiscal year (FY) 2022 spending package released by congressional leadership yesterday, March 9. The bill fails to include any of the significant advances for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) passed by the full House and proposed by the Senate majority on the appropriations committee, such as increased funding for international family planning programs and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) or the permanent repeal of the Global Gag Rule. Instead, due to the demands of anti-SRHR members of Congress, the bill defaults to the previous year’s funding levels and policy, essentially retaining a more-than-decade-long status quo on these issues.
The bill put forward yesterday for consideration in the House and Senate continues to fund bilateral international family planning and reproductive health at $575 million, with an additional $32.5 million for UNFPA, totaling $607.5 million overall. This amount, if passed, will have remained consistent for 12 years, despite the need for increased investments to adequately address the unmet need for modern contraception and other reproductive health services, as well as to offset the effects of inflation.
In addition, the bill fails to include important policy changes to improve the efficacy and efficiency of U.S. investment in international family planning programs. Most notably, permanent repeal of the Global Gag Rule, was left out. Included for the first time in both the House and Senate bills for FY 2022, this policy change should have been considered nonnegotiable as the chambers came together to form an agreement on a final spending package. Without this change, global health organizations around the world remain in a state of uncertainty, knowing that this harmful policy could come back as soon as a future U.S. president who is hostile to SRHR takes office.
PAI remains thankful for the steadfast leadership of congressional champions who sought to advance the SRHR of those around the world throughout this process. We hope that during the upcoming FY 2023 appropriations process, members will choose to set aside their politics and instead support investments and policy provisions that advance health, rights and gender equality.
PAI champions policies that put women, youth and at-risk communities in charge of their sexual and reproductive health and rights. We work with policymakers in Washington, D.C., and our network of more than 120 funded partners across 36 countries to remove roadblocks to access sexual and reproductive health services and support. For nearly six decades, PAI has helped communities succeed by upholding their basic rights.