The Population Institute Congratulates the US for its Statement of Support for International Family Planning and Women’s Rights
April 02, 2009
Washington, DC — On March 31st the United States reasserted its international leadership in support of family planning and reproductive health by renewing its commitment to "universal access to sexual and reproductive health and the protection and promotion of reproductive rights" at the 42nd session of the Commission on Population and Development at the U.N. headquarters in New York. This statement was greeted with praise from population groups, women's health advocates and human rights organizations.
The Population Institute joins these organizations in heartily applauding the Obama Administration's commitment to family planning and reproductive health. Since taking office the Administration has overturned the Global Gag Rule, restored funding to UNFPA, and increased the amount of bilateral aid that the U.S. gives for family planning in the current fiscal year.
Speaking at the U.N. meeting on Tuesday, Margaret J. Pollack, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, said the U.S. has pledged to ensure: "access to safe, effective, and affordable methods of voluntary family planning through good quality care that provides full information and respects the client's choices." Pollack stressed that, "Even in these uncertain economic times, the U.S. will not retreat from this commitment."
Beyond family planning the U.S. also acknowledged the need to make sure women have access to reproductive health services, such as having a skilled birth attendant for delivery, which will help decrease maternal and infant mortality rates around the world.
The U.S. also pledged to strengthen efforts aimed at better integrating family planning with HIV/AIDS prevention programs funded under PEPFAR. Pollack noted that "60 percent of the people on PEPFAR-supported antiretroviral treatment are women, many of whom are in their reproductive years."
The Population Institute's executive vice president, Bob Walker, attended the U.N. meeting at which the U.S. commitment was made. Afterwards, he said, "Renewed U.S. leadership in the area of family planning and reproductive health is long overdue and desperately needed. And, thankfully, the new Administration appears committed to providing it."
The full U.S. statement from the 42nd Session of the Commission on Population and Development is available at this link.