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U.S. Government Relations

U.S. Government Relations is one of PAI’s core bodies of work advocating for robust foreign assistance policies and increased funding to support sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide.

PAI is dedicated to advancing evidence-based U.S. government policies and funding in support of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Through our U.S. Government Relations work, we cultivate a broad, knowledgeable and engaged base of sexual and reproductive health and rights champions in Congress. Together with these champions, PAI advocates to increase U.S. bilateral and multilateral family planning and reproductive health funding to support the estimated 218 million women in developing regions who want to prevent or delay pregnancy but still face significant barriers to using modern contraceptive methods. To ensure U.S. global health assistance reaches the most qualified, trusted and effective providers, PAI fights against harmful policies like the Global Gag Rule and decisions to defund the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

PAI has mobilized more than 170 representatives and 40 senators in Congress to support the Global Health Empowerment and Rights (Global HER) Act to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule.

PAI’s advocacy in the United States is heavily influenced by the expressed needs and input of our in-country partners around the world. We seek to amplify the stories of those who are directly impacted by U.S. foreign assistance policies that restrict access to sexual and reproductive health care and information — including family planning and abortion services. Whenever possible, we bring our partners to Capitol Hill to share their firsthand experiences with policymakers.

Through our advocacy with the U.S. government, we highlight the intersections between sexual and reproductive health and rights and other global health and gender issues. PAI supports strengthening U.S. policies and programs to address sexual and gender-based violence, respond to the needs of adolescent girls and uphold the rights of LGBTI individuals. We also work to ensure that women’s health and rights are reflected in relevant national strategies, such as the women, peace and security agenda. Core to our U.S. government advocacy is PAI’s leadership of the International Family Planning Coalition, where we convene a diverse group of nearly 90 U.S.-based organizations working to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in U.S. foreign policy.

Our U.S. Government Relations legislative priorities include informing congressional members and staff of key issues related to sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as advocating for supportive legislation and funding. In the annual federal budget and appropriations process, we work to ensure adequate investment for international family planning and reproductive health. PAI also supports the introduction and passage of bills to permanently repeal the Helms amendmentsupport funding for UNFPA to require reporting on reproductive rights violations in the U.S. Department of State’s annual human rights reports and to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights as part of efforts to advance gender equity and women and girls empowerment. 

Regarding the executive branch, our U.S. Government Relations work focuses on interpretation and analysis of policies, strategies and programs that relate to sexual and reproductive health and rights. This includes evaluating executive nominations and appointments, as well as U.S. diplomatic engagements at the United Nations and elsewhere. We seek to counter harmful U.S. government policies and behavior with strategic action in collaboration with civil society partners, both at home and abroad.

To educate U.S. policymakers and hold them accountable, PAI produces detailed research and policy analysis. We emphasize the value of investing in family planning and reproductive health programs by highlighting how this leads to better health outcomes, greater educational opportunities and increased economic prosperity for women, girls and their communities. These resources include our signature newsletters: the Washington Memo, which delivers in-depth policy and political analysis; and PAI on the Hill, which provides legislative and policy analysis and recommendations to congressional staff.

The reinstatement and expansion of the Global Gag Rule demonstrate how repressive political decisions from other countries can affect population health and well-being in countries like Uganda.
Moses Mulumba, executive director, Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD)

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