Last week, the United Nations held a special session to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and to review progress toward meeting the ambitious goal of ensuring universal access to family planning by 2015.
At this meeting, a U.S. official delivered an important statement reiterating that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton are committed to expanding global access to family planning. He said, “The United States strongly supports the goals and ideals of the ICPD, and under President Obama’s leadership has renewed our commitment to work with the international community to implement the ICPD Program of Action.”
Such an expression comes after eight years of Bush administration actions designed to undermine progress on family planning. Speeches are nice and can be helpful, but actions are more important. To that end, we’ve been extremely pleased by the significant increases in international family planning that the president has called for and that congress is moving toward approving. We’re also very happy with the president’s decision to restore U.S. aid to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and to lift the harmful Global Gag Rule that barred U.S. assistance to some of the most experienced and effective providers of family planning in the developing world.