Statement Regarding Confirmation of Gayle Smith as USAID Administrator
Today, PAI congratulates Gayle Smith on her confirmation as Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). We welcome the expertise Ms. Smith brings in global development and humanitarian assistance, and we look forward to working with her to support our shared global health and development objectives.
The world is facing an extraordinary time of conflict. It is more critical than ever that we work together to champion women’s reproductive rights and access to care. Crises in the Middle East, most notably Syria and Iraq, as well as in North Africa, have forced thousands of refugees to flee to neighboring countries and Europe for safe harbor. Violence against women, especially rape as a weapon of war, has added its own brand of shame to these, and other conflicts, and acutely impacts women’s health. These are issues Ms. Smith must confront immediately.
PAI also hopes to work with Ms. Smith to persuade President Obama to correct the administration’s longstanding misinterpretation of the Helms Amendment which needlessly prohibits access to vital care and services for women overseas who need an abortion because of rape or incest, or because they face a life-threatening pregnancy. This is a broken policy that obstructs the work of our partners around the globe, including providers, who are delivering quality care to millions in need.
We look forward to working with Ms. Smith and USAID in our continued efforts to champion women’s sexual and reproductive rights and close the gaps in women’s reproductive health care—a vital step in promoting health, women’s empowerment, democracy and stability worldwide.
PAI champions policies that put women in charge of their reproductive health. We work with policymakers in Washington and our network of partners in developing countries to remove roadblocks between women and the services and supplies they need. For 50 years, we’ve helped women succeed by upholding their basic rights. To learn more, visit pai.org.