Thursday, March 12, 2009

Victories in FY 2009 Omnibus appropriations bill

By Stacie Murphy

The legislation provides a total of $545 million for international family programs - an increase of more than $80 million from the 2008 level. Included in this total is $50 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and its work to improve reproductive health, raise the status of women and improve the quality, safety and availability of contraceptives in nearly 150 countries. This significant increase in funding for international family planning and the strong show of support for UNFPA mark a significant reversal in a long term trend of declining support for these programs. The increased investment in the bill represents an important first step toward meeting the current unmet need, and will help improve the health of women and children, reduce the strain on overtaxed resources, and build strong, stable societies.

In addition, we are also pleased to report several other provisions included in the package:
  • a $7.5 million increase for the Title X (ten) program that provides low income American women and families with subsidized contraceptives and reproductive health services;
  • a provision allowing university health centers and other safety-net providers to obtain prescription birth control from manufacturers at a lower cost, creating easier access to contraception for an underserved group of women; and,
  • a $14 million funding cut to Community Based Abstinence Education (CBAE), a program that denies young people the information they need to make responsible decisions and has been shown to be ineffective and inaccurate. While we would have preferred that funding for this program be eliminated entirely, the cut approved by the House is a step in the right direction.