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Congress Maintains Funding for Family Planning in FY2015

December 15, 2014

Congress has approved a $1.1 trillion appropriations bill funding most of the government through the end of the current fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2015. While the “CRomnibus” funds international family planning programs at last year’s level, the FY2015 funding levels are still below what is needed to ensure the accessibility of family planning services to the 225 million women in the developing world who want to avoid a pregnancy, but who are not using a modern method of contraception. Congress also renewed funding for Title X, the federal program providing family planning services to low-income households in the U.S.

Congress appropriated $610 million in bilateral and multilateral funding for international family planning and reproductive health programs, including $35 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).  The measure was a clear victory for family planning advocates who were resisting proposed cuts in both domestic and international family planning. Congressional opponents also failed to attach new policy restrictions on family planning programs. The approved funding, however, fell far short of the $1 billion annual funding level proposed by the International Family Planning Coalition earlier this year.

In addition to resisting proposed cuts in funding, reproductive rights advocates achieved a long-sought policy victory. The new provision allows for Peace Corps volunteers to receive abortions in the case of risk to the life of the mother, rape, and incest, as permitted under the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program. The amendment reverses a 35 year ban on government funding of abortions to Peace Corps volunteers, allowing female Peace Corps volunteers access to the same reproductive health services as other government workers.

President Obama, who objects to several parts of the funding measure, is expected, nevertheless, to sign it into law.

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