Friday, January 23, 2009

More Good News On Global Family Planning

You didn't ask me, but I have a a great friend, Deni, who works for Americans for UNFPA (the UNFPA part is the United Nations Population Fund).

Deni just told me that President Obama committed to making sure that funding is restored to UNFPA
as part of his lifting the ban on the Global Gag Rule.

This is one more piece of tremendous news to top off a fantastic week.

Here's that statement that Americans for UNFPA released tonight:

President Obama Vows to Restore UNFPA Funding, Return U.S. Leadership to Women’s Issues

New York, NY – January 23, 2009—President Barack Obama today ended the stunning disregard our government has shown the world’s women when he pledged to implement policies that help raise the status of women around the world, including the restoration of a U.S. contribution to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

“… I look forward to working with Congress to restore U.S. financial support for the U.N. Population Fund. By resuming funding to UNFPA, the U.S. will be joining 180 other donor nations working collaboratively to reduce poverty, improve the health of women and children, prevent HIV/AIDS and provide family planning assistance to women in 154 countries,” said President Obama in an official White House statement issued Friday evening.

“With this declaration, the Obama Administration allows all Americans to again hold our heads high. We can be proud to be part of a nation that is, once again, ready to lead the world in promoting the health and rights of women,” said Anika Rahman, President of Americans for UNFPA.

The United States, which was integral to forming UNFPA in 1969, is the only country in the world that has ever refused to fund the agency for reasons that are political rather than financial. From 2002-2008 the United States Congress voted to appropriate funds to UNFPA but this contribution was withheld by the Bush Administration. A total of $244 million was blocked.

Now, we look to Congress to support President Obama and women everywhere by allocating $60 million in FY 09 to UNFPA, as Congress finalizes the FY2009 appropriations process.

“Together Congress and the Obama Administration’s actions will allow UNFPA to enhance its programs immediately,” said Rahman. As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton so strongly articulated before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it’s crucial that our government consider women’s issues as integral to our foreign policy.”

“For too long, we have viewed U.S. assistance for global women’s heath programs as important, but not necessary to our own interests. The needs of women are so intrinsically tied up in the needs of families, communities and nations that it’s absurd to consider ‘women’s issues’ separately,” said Rahman. “By restoring funding to UNFPA, the Administration recognizes women’s rightful place in the world.”

UNFPA provides women’s health care and promotes the rights of women in more than 150 countries around the world. It is the largest international source of such assistance. UNFPA’s work has significantly reduced maternal mortality in countries such as Bolivia, Egypt and Zimbabwe, provides 500 million women with modern contraceptive methods annually and works to combat gender-based violence around the world.

To learn more about Americans for UNFPA visit

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, provides women's health care and promotes the rights of women around the world. Americans for UNFPA is dedicated to building American support for the work of UNFPA and to restoring the United States' moral, political and financial contribution to the organization.