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House Subcommittee Votes to Slash International Family Planning for FY2014

July 19, 2013

The House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee today approved a steep cutback in international family planning assistance for fiscal year 2014 that begins on October 1, 2013.  Rejecting the President's FY 2014 budget request of $635.4 million, the Subcommittee capped appropriations for international family planning and reproductive health programs at $461 million, $174 million less than the President's request, and $127 million—or 22 percent--below the current funding level.  The cuts, if approved by the full Congress, would have a devastating impact.  Several million women in the developing world would lose access to contraceptives services, resulting in more unplanned pregnancies and deaths from unsafe abortions.

The proposed cut in international family planning assistance was approved as part of a larger appropriation measure providing funds for the U.S. State Department and U.S. foreign assistance programs.  The overall appropriations bill cut total funding 19 percent below current levels. Support for international family planning and reproductive health programs was cut despite a slight increase in total funding for global health programs.

Robert Walker, president of the Population Institute, said the proposed cuts in international family planning assistance would do “severe and unnecessary harm to the health and well-being of women and their families in the developing world.”  He said, “There is no budgetary justification for denying women access to contraceptives.  We know that every dollar spent on family planning saves several dollars by reducing spending for maternal and child health, education, and other programs.”

The House Subcommittee’s action is just the first step in the annual appropriations process; any appropriation bill must receive the approval of the full Congress.  Walker warned, however, that “Supporters of international family planning cannot take anything for granted.  While the Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to approve an increase in funding for international family planning assistance, the final funding level will have to be worked out in joint House-Senate deliberations.“

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