Global Gag Rule, U.S. Foreign Assistance

Good News & Bad News on Family Planning Appropriations

This week, committees in both the House and Senate marked up the State Department and foreign operations appropriations bills for fiscal year 2015, with widely different results for international family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) funding and policy.

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The good news:

  • The Senate committee approved a bill with a total of $644.3 million for bilateral and multilateral FP/RH funding from all accounts, including $37.5 million for a U.S. contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
  • The Senate committee passed an amendment offered by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule, preventing a future President who is hostile to women’s health from reinstating this harmful policy unilaterally through executive action.
  • The bill alters the ban on abortion for Peace Corps volunteers by incorporating exceptions for life, rape, and incest.

The bad news:

  • On Tuesday, the House State-foreign operations subcommittee approved a draft FY 2015 bill that guts FP/RH funding by 24 percent from current levels (to $461 million), and explicitly prohibits a U.S. contribution to UNFPA.
  • The subcommittee-approved bill legislatively reimposes the Global Gag Rule.
  • The draft bill also continues the ban on coverage for abortion for Peace Corps volunteers under any circumstances.

Next up: The subcommittee-approved bill will be marked-up by the full House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday morning, when FP/RH champions on the committee are expected to offer amendments challenging some of these harmful policy riders. Stay tuned!

Get more details in the full Washington Memo.

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