October 6, 2011

Want to Protect Life? Protect Funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

We’re working on pulling together images and stories from this past weekend’s incredible 40th anniversary symposium. Our global partners from Turkey to Tanzania go to great lengths to ensure women in their countries have access to resources and information that enable them to make decisions about their health and the health of their families. Stories from these women affected everyone who watched and listened (see E.J. Graff’s great post over at The American Prospect).

Meanwhile, over on Capitol Hill, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs voted Wednesday to approve a bill (H.R. 2059) that would prohibit the U.S. government from providing funding to the United Nations Population Fund.

The International Women’s Health Coalition, in an alert sent out Wednesday morning on the assault on funding for services that help the world’s poorest women, noted that the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), “may not understand how essential and cost effective UNFPA’s work to promote the health and rights of women and girls really is.”

Here’s what UNFPA does for the world’s poorest citizens (feel free to call Rep. Ellmer’s office, 202-225-4531, to share this information):

  • Access to contraception and family planning services
  • Midwifery and emergency obstetric care
  • Prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections
  • Prevent and treat obstetric fistula
  • Work to end female genital mutilation and other harmful traditional practices such as child marriage
  • Essential reproductive health services in post-conflict and disaster situations

We’ve heard the stories first-hand of how funding and access to services can save lives, yet right-wing politicians continue to malign the UNFPA out of ignorance and bias.

Reality check: The UNFPA “supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.”

Read more about the international development agency’s programs, along with this FAQ, and please spread the word.


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