Women’s Health and Rights in Jeopardy as Representatives Look to Eliminate International Family Planning

Women’s health and rights do not matter in some of the world’s most remote and poor communities, right? That’s the message that Representative Latta (R, OH-5th) is sending and other Representatives may well endorse this week. Representative Latta has filed an amendment that would eliminate all funding for international family planning programs in the proposed FY 2011 continuing resolution. Eliminate, zero, nada, zilch, nothing.

After all, what does having access to reproductive health care and family planning matter any way? International family planning programs only save lives, improve health, reduce poverty, empower women, increase economic growth and social stability. Those aren’t really that important.

Nor do the 26.5 million women who have access to family planning services because of current US funding levels apparently matter. Cutting US funding for international family planning would mean not only would these 26.5 million women lose access to critical services, there would be an estimated 7.8 million more unintended pregnancies, 3.7 million more abortions, 87,000 additional newborn deaths and 12,000 additional maternal deaths.

Yesterday in discussing USAID priorities for global health at the National Institute of Health, Dr. Rajiv Shah, Head of USAID, referenced the impact that family planning has had and the importance of investing in family planning services going forward. He said, “Through voluntary family planning services and new contraceptives, we’ve literally averted tens of millions of unintended pregnancies.”

Following Dr. Shah’s speech, Scott Radloff, Director of the Office of Population and Reproductive Health for USAID, said, “There are 215 million women who have an unmet need for family planning. In the poorest countries of the world, we find the highest level of unmet need among the poor, the rural, the uneducated. Our goal is to get services to these groups. We have 24 priority countries for family planning. We have 24 priority countries for maternal health. The same countries that have high need for maternal and newborn care are the same that have a need for family planning.”

Cutting funding is not just about women having access to contraceptives. It will have long term, devastating consequences for women’s health, the health of their children, and the futures of their communities. Do you want the United States to send a signal that we do not believe in the rights and health of women?

To ensure this amendment does not pass, please contact your Representatives TODAY. If you believe that women’s health and rights matter—no matter where in the world they live—tell your Representative to stand strong against the Latta amendment.

A woman in Bangladesh receiving contraceptives. Photo by Pathfinder International.

37 comments

Robert O.
Robert O.4 years ago

Thanks.

Bernadette P.
Berny p.5 years ago

Since our planet is overpopulated already family planning is one way we can keep ourselves from overcrowding the planet. This benefits everyone on the planet.

I agree 100% with Sue H

Tierney G.
Tierney G.5 years ago

lets defund everything near and dear to those pre-meditated mass murderers, Satan followers the GOP and the teabaggers.
Better yet lets all refuse to pay our taxes until the rich and mega rich and those death camp corporations start paying their fair share. How can they possibly put the millions of the rest of us peasants in jail? lets really screw em!!!

Deborah P.
Intuitive S.5 years ago

let's slash war-funding

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

ANOTHER example of short-sighted thinking. Keeping women safe and strong is in the long-run, good for them, their countries, and our country. It's like that old saying, "you can pay me now, or pay me later." Whenever we sidestep problems, they end up costing more in the long run, not only economically, but in the wasted potential of yet another woman, another generation. The U.S. is in a better position than most any other country, to make an impact for a better world, with our economic help, and in the long-run, even if one is not concerned with altruism, a healthier world, means less times WE have to intervene in global disputes, less of our troops killed, less of our economic wealth wasted.

Sheila M.
Sheila M.5 years ago

LEE SMITH is a right wing psycho nut job bigot and idiot.

Sue Horwood
Sue H.5 years ago

Since our planet is overpopulated already family planning is one way we can keep ourselves from overcrowding the planet. This benefits everyone on the planet.

Barbara Armstrong

Lee Smith - please remind me to care only about my "own backyard" next time your region of the world may be suffering for any reason.

Like it or not you are part of the human population, not just the US population - get with the program like the rest of the civilised populace is !

Bernard Cronyn
5 years ago

In the long term directing funding at improving health without tying in family planning is counterproductive and causes more harm than good. AID with no long term responsibility has caused much misery across the 3rd World.

Lee Smith
Lee Smith5 years ago

I agree with you Linda in that foreign aid just fills the pockets of the dictators of other countries.

We are headed that way, the wealthy are running our country..