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President Obama this week, as part of his proposed budget request for fiscal year 2013 (FY2013), called upon Congress to restore funding for international family planning and reproductive health to the FY2010 level. This is good news for the 215 million women in developing countries who need access to family planning services and information.
The FY2012 budget gave $610 million to international family planning and reproductive health programs, including $35 million to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The President’s budget for FY2013 asks for $642.7 million, a 5 percent increase that includes $39 million for UNFPA.
The President’s budget reaffirms his strong support for international family planning. The Administration’s budget reduces funding for other areas of bilateral foreign assistance, including other health-related programs, but in view of the critical importance of family planning, the Administration, obviously felt it was important to reverse the recent cutbacks in funding.
Commenting on the release of the President’s budget, Robert Walker, president of the Population Institute, said, “The Administration’s budget falls significantly short of the $1 billion funding level that our organization has been advocating, but President Obama is to be commended for recognizing that family planning and the reproductive health of women in the developing world deserve more support from the U.S. With Congressional opponents of contraception gearing up for renewed attacks on family planning, we’re going to need the President to hold firm and for our Congressional supporters to rally in defense of international family planning assistance. This is no time for complacency.”