President Obama is expected to sign the FY 2012 omnibus spending bill, which includes $610 million in bilateral and multilateral funding for international family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH), cutting off international family planning by a mere $5 million from 2011. The Republican House had initially voted to cut international FP/RH by some 25%. Both the US House and Senate approved the spending bill last week. This represents a compromise; the President had requested $769 million and the Republican-controlled House had passed only $461 million.
The bill also allocates $35 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with the exception that the money not be spent in China or used for abortion services. The House bill had excluded all funding for UNFPA.
According to Population Action International, “US funding for FP/RH remains woefully inadequate in the face of the tremendous need that exists. 215 million women in developing countries want to avoid pregnancy but lack access to or information about modern contraception…The President should continue to request robust funding increases for these vital health programs when he presents his fiscal year 2013 budget to Congress in early February and continue to strongly oppose attempts to cut funding or impose harmful policy restrictions.”
Population Action International 12/19/11; San Francisco Gate 12/16/11