Thursday, July 28, 2011

GOP Escalates Global War On Women

A Republican-led subcommittee opened a new front in the global war on women by adopting a spending bill that cuts funding for contraceptive services overseas by 25 percent, legislatively codifies the harmful Global Gag Rule restrictions, and prohibits a U.S. contribution to the lead UN family planning agency, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

As Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) said in her opening statement: “Whether you call yourself a Republican or a Democrat, pro-choice or pro-life, it is clear these unconscionable and unnecessarily divisive policies and cuts are counterproductive to our shared goals of reducing unwanted pregnancies, maternal and infant deaths, and abortions.”

During markup of a draft FY 2012 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, the subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), approved the draft bill without change or amendment. The bill funds foreign assistance programs, including international family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) activities, and the State Department for the coming fiscal year that begins on October 1st.

The draft bill contains funding cuts and policy riders that represent further anti-family planning salvos by the House Republican leadership, including the following lowlights:

Family Planning Funding: Statutory ceiling on funding for FP/RH programs at not more than $461 million from all accounts—a 25 percent cut from the FY 2011 enacted level of $615 million and a 40 percent cut below the President’s FY 2012 request of $769 million. The proposed 25 percent cut from current levels is deeper and disproportionate relative to most other development and health programs and comes on top of the 5 percent cut from the FY 2010 high-water mark imposed on FP/RH programs during this fiscal year.

The Guttmacher Institute estimates that the proposed $154 million funding cut would have the following impact if adopted:

  • 9.4 million fewer women and couples receiving contraceptive services
  • almost 3 million more unintended pregnancies
  • 1.3 million more abortions (mostly unsafe)
  • 1.3 million more unplanned births
  • 7,700 more maternal deaths
  • more than 35,000 more orphans


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