House Approves Foreign Aid Bill Without Family Planning Funds
July 17, 2003
by NOW Staff
House conservatives earlier this week rejected a provision of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act that would have restored U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund, the world's largest single source of funding for contraception and family planning services.
In a 216-211 vote on Tuesday, the House stopped an amendment that would have directed $100 million over two years to the fund, which provides voluntary family planning services in about 150 countries. The House International Relations Committee had supported the amendment, which was sponsored by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).
President George W. Bush cut funding to the United Nations Population Fund in July 2002, relying on false accusations that the agency backed forced abortions and coerced sterilizations in China. In fact, the United Nations Population Fund helps women in the world's poorest countries plan the number and spacing of their children, helps ensure the safe delivery of healthy babies, even in unsafe environments, and helps to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS.
"The United Nations Population Fund saves thousands of women's and children's lives every year," said NOW Membership Vice President Terry O'Neill. "Unfortunately, George W. Bush and other anti-family planning extremists in Congress are willing to treat women in developing countries as second-class citizens, without regard for the untold number of women who could die as a result."
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