The House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee approved $648 million for bilateral and multilateral funding for family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) programs!! This funding level would represent the largest amount ever for these programs in US history.
My colleague at Population Action International (PAI) has the breakdown of the numbers for us:
The $648 million includes $588 million for the bilateral FP/RH programs of USAID and $60 million for a U.S. contribution to the UN Population Fund. The subcommittee proposes that entire UNFPA contribution be funded out of the State Department’s International Organizations and Programs account, a change from the FY 2009 legislation in which a significant portion of the UNFPA contribution was drawn from bilateral accounts. The $648 million level proposed for FY 2010 represents a major increase:
· 19 percent above the FY 2009 appropriated level of $545 million:
· 9 percent above the President’s FY 2010 budget request of $593.4 million; and
· over the last two years, a 40 percent increase over the FY 2008 appropriation of $464.2 million (post-rescission).
While this is very, very good news, especially given the current economic climate, it is not near what is actually needed to save as many women's lives on the ground as possible.
The current "ask" from the International Family Planning Coalition here in Washington, in which Feminist Majority plays a key role, and I spend a good 70% of my time working with, is a $1 billion. The actual global shortfall is close to $3.5 billion from what was promised at Cairo.
So while we welcome this increase with open arms :), we need to start seeing even more substantial increases in US assistance to international family planning. Why? Because we already know what to do to stop the needless suffering and deaths of the hundreds of thousands of women who die every year from pregnancy related complications. Why? Because saving women's lives is not up for negotiation.