Letter to House Members to Support Pro-Life Protections in Foreign Ops Bill

By N/A | March 17, 2015


March 16, 2015

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Honorable Member,

Every year 300,000 women lose their lives because resources that could improve maternal health are spent elsewhere. Despite population activities being funded at $6 billion per year, only a fraction of this is devoted to maternal health. Rather funding is directed to foreign nongovernment organizations that focus on power inequalities, fertility reduction, sexual autonomy, abortion and reproductive rights.

Family planning and reproductive health funding has grown disproportionately as compared to other Global Health initiatives within USAID. The US is the single, largest bilateral donor of family planning and reproductive health—appropriating $610 million in 2014 (including $32 million in contributions to UNFPA). This figure has increased 43.5%—or $185 million—since 2006 and does not account for family planning funding through multi-sector programs.

Family planning appropriations are greater than those for tuberculosis, public health threats, nutrition, water and sanitation, pandemic influenza, and vulnerable children. This is perplexing considering 4,000 children die each day from disease attributed to poor hygiene and sanitation.

The removal of the Mexico City policy in 2009 has allowed billions of dollars to flow to overseas organizations that perform and promote abortion. The United Nations Populations Fund has received over $250 million despite its complicity in China’s coercive one child policy as well as its support for adolescent access to abortion care, the elimination of parental consent regulations, and the liberalization of laws concerning sex work. Regrettably, UNFPA is not the only US partner to support programs involving abortion and/or population control activities—other examples include World Bank, World Health Organization, and Population Services International. Global abortion providers—International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International—also enjoy a relationship. This evidence necessitates the codification of the Mexico City Policy as assurance that American taxpayer funds are not being used to provide abortion or fund activities to liberalize abortion policy.

Through these partnerships, USAID directly funds programs that distribute harmful long acting progesterone contraceptives—like Depo Provera, Sayana Press, and Jadelle—despite scientific evidence showing a 40% increase in contracting HIV/AIDs and a two-fold increase in breast cancer among users. This should give serious pause to policymakers as the substandard health infrastructure in these countries will no doubt lead to higher mortality rates.

In light of these funding inequities the Center for Family and Human Rights supports Congressman Chris Smith’s request for the immediate cessation of all funding streams to UNFPA, the codification of the Mexico City Policy, and the enactment of defined funding limits for family planning and reproductive health.

We respectfully ask that you support Congressman Chris Smith’s effort to re-establish US global health funding priorities for maternal and child health in the FY 2016 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill by signing on to Congressman Smith’s letter. Thank you for your time.


Austin Ruse