Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Clinton Introduces Legislation to Restore United States Support for United Nations Population Fund
Bill Would Direct Funding to Activities Improving Women and Children's Health

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton introduced the United Nations Population Fund Restoration Act, legislation that would direct United States contributions to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to essential women’s health services, including safe motherhood initiatives, infection prevention, and provision of health and hygiene supplies in disaster situations.

“It is unconscionable that this Administration has chosen to withhold U.S. funding from an organization doing so much good for women, girls, and families around the world. UNFPA’s work prevents maternal deaths, provides vital health services in emergencies, and improves the health and well-being of women in countries around the world. We should restore funding to UNFPA, and this legislation is an important step in that process,” said Senator Clinton.

“We thank Senator Clinton for this bill which champions UNFPA’s work to promote
safe motherhood programs around the world so that women don’t die giving life. Legislation like the UNFPA Restoration Act of 2008 helps us shine a light on the crucial assistance UNFPA provides around the word and why the United States should be leading the international community’s commitment to women,” said Anika Rahman, President of Americans for UNFPA.

UNFPA was created in 1969, with the strong support of the United States government. Today, 180 countries from all regions of the world provide support to UNFPA programs operating in more than 154 countries. With this funding, UNFPA works to reduce maternal mortality, train safe birth attendants, decrease sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, and provide essential supplies to women in disaster or conflict situations. It does not provide abortion services.

Despite the fact that UNFPA has overwhelming support from the international community, the Bush Administration has suspended U.S. contributions since 2002 to UNFPA over baseless allegations that the organization has helped to provide abortions in China. This suspension of funding has persisted even though an Administration-backed fact-finding mission to China in 2002 found “no evidence that UNFPA has knowingly supported or participated in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”

United Nations Population Fund Restoration Act would address unfounded concerns that UNFPA funding is being misused by ensuring that the U.S. contribution would be used for a specific set of activities to improve the health of women, children and families. In limiting the use of funds in this manner, this bill counters the objections of the Bush Administration, and thus makes it harder for them to justify withholding funds from UNFPA and its valuable women’s health work around the world.

This legislation is supported by Americans for UNFPA, American Jewish World Service, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Population Connection, Center for Reproductive Rights, Center for Women Policy Studies, Catholics for Choice, the Sierra Club, Center for Health and Gender Equity, Global Health Council, Population Action International and the United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society.

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