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"Disappointing": PHI Statement on State/Foreign Ops Appropriations

June 19, 2014

"The Public Health Institute notes with disappointment the Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2015 approved this week in the US House of Representatives by the Subcommittee on State Department and Foreign Operations.  If adopted, this bill would significantly underfund key aspects of global health--including family planning, which would be reduced by at least $200 million--to a level not seen since 2008.  US Government assistance in family planning has been a key to reducing maternal mortality for decades, and is a critical component of preventive health for millions of women and their families around the world. 

"The House bill would also codify the Mexico City Policy, a harmful and cynical measure that restricts overseas non-profits that receive United States governmental funding from certain service delivery and advocacy programs in reproductive health,  even when utilizing funds from non-US Government sources.  The Mexico City Policy also restricts foreign NGOs in ways that would be completely unacceptable limits to freedom of speech in the United States. 

"Additionally, the House bill would provide $230 million less in funding to the US Agency for International Development than the Obama Administration is seeking for fiscal year 2015.  It would completely eliminate funding for other important work related to global health, including funding for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Strategic Climate Fund and the Clean Technology Fund.

"Public Health Institute is heartened by the Senate Appropriations version of the same bill, also released this week, which would fund family planning programs robustly, and which would not encumber foreign NGOs with restrictive policies like Mexico City. The Senate bill includes important reform measures that will be helpful to agencies like the US Agency for International Development, as it seeks to reform its agenda for the future, while also making the best use of available resources.  The Senate bill provides full funding for important international organizations and US Government initiatives that impact global health and climate change.

"Public Health Institute calls upon members of the House and Senate to agree to a final version of this vital bill that protects US Government investments in reproductive health and family planning, does not restrict what foreign NGOs can do with their own money, and provides USAID and United Nations agencies with solid funding for their critical roles in global health and international development."