For Immediate Release

Statement from Population Action International on
the Proposed House Republican FY2011 Continuing Resolution
by Craig Lasher, Director of US Government Relations

“The cuts to international family planning are extreme and out of touch with the views of ordinary Americans. Polls consistently show that Americans overwhelmingly support overseas family planning programs, including 69% of Independent and Republican voters. Family planning is one of our most cost-effective foreign assistance programs and it supports U.S. diplomatic, development and national security priorities.

The GOP push to impose a permanent Global Gag Rule in a spending bill solves no financial issues and further restricts the ability of poor women to access desperately needed, family planning services. For many of these women, family planning clinics are the first entry point into the health care system. A November 2010 poll showed the majority of Americans do not support re-instating the Global Gag Rule.

The proposed cuts focus a disproportionate amount of attention on international affairs programs, which constitutes only 1.4 percent of the overall budget. These relatively small investments in international affairs and global health programs yield tremendous gains and are critical to maintaining our standing as a global leader.

The Republican spending bill contains a 39 percent cut for international family planning when compared to the President’s FY 2011 request, sinking from $716 million to $440 million. House Republicans also aim to eliminate funding for United Nations Population Fund, the lead international agency providing family planning services to the poor and hard to reach around the world.

Fully funding international family planning programs would reduce the annual number of abortions around the world by 14.5 million and reduce the number of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth by 250,000.

Congress’ job is to create responsible spending bills, not to advance an extreme social agenda that jeopardizes the lives of women around the world. As the world population approaches 7 billion this year, contraceptives should not be withheld from the 215 million women in developing countries who want, but lack access to them. If social conservatives are serious about reducing abortion, they should use common sense and invest in family planning programs.”