President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget request for international family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) proposes a very welcomed restoration of funding.  This will help recover some of the millions of dollars cut by congressional contraceptive critics over the last two years as part of the globalization of their war on women.

The Obama administration is proposing $642.7 million for bilateral and multilateral international FP/RH assistance—a $32.7 million or a five percent increase above the $610 million that Congress appropriated for FY 2012, the current fiscal year.

FY 2013 request FY 2012 enacted
Global Health Programs account* 530.0 523.9
Economic Support Fund 73.7
TOTAL, bilateral FP/RH 603.7 575.0
U.S. contribution to UNFPA (IO&P) 39.0 35.0
TOTAL, bilateral & multilateral FP/RH 642.7 610.0

The international family planning funding restoration called for in the budget request is especially significant in light of the difficult economic and budgetary climate and the fact that other bilateral health sectors are slated for cuts below current enacted levels.  However, it is important to keep in mind the contrast between the harsh treatment that international FP/RH funding received in Congress over the last two years compared with other health sectors.

Most of the requested international FP/RH assistance in the President’s FY 2013 budget—$603.7 million—is for bilateral programs administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which provides family planning assistance in more than 50 countries.  The bulk is requested within the Global Health Programs account—$530 million, an increase of $6 million above current levels.  The remaining $73.7 million is contained in the Economic Support Fund, another large bilateral funding account targeted to politically and strategically important nations like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Of the $643 million requested overall, $39 million is proposed for a U.S. contribution to the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), which provides critical FP/RH services in more than 150 countries.  The proposed $4 million increase from the current congressionally-enacted contribution of $35 million is another encouraging development contained in the President’s budget request.

Despite the proposed funding increase, family planning still remains out of reach for the 215 million women in developing countries who do not want to become pregnant but do not have access to modern contraception.  The President is to be commended for seeking to restore the cuts to international family planning programs inflicted by opponents in the House since the start of the 112th Congress.

*FP/RH activities formerly funded from the Assistance for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia (AEECA) account are requested within Global Health Programs account in the FY 2013 budget request.

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