The proposed FY 2009 budget released by President Bush on Monday would slash funding for international family planning and sexual and reproductive health programs. Population Action International (PAI) reports that Bush’s proposed funding overall cuts $134 million from these programs, a 29% deduction.
Bush proposes cuts from several different international programs, including a $93 million (24%) reduction in the family planning and reproductive health portion of the Child Survival and Health Programs Fund (CSH), according to PAI.
While Bush’s proposal does include an increase in spending for President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Democrats in Congress are expected to fight for both a larger increase in funding and the elimination the stipulation mandating that one third of funding go to abstinence-only programs, reports the Associated Press. “(The current funding requirements) have placed politics above science The administration’s abstinence-before-marriage earmark shortchanges the prevention programs that are most effective,” said Sen. Diane Feinstein D-CA in the Associated Press.
Congress has consistently funded family planning and reproductive health programs beyond the low levels President Bush proposes. In the FY 2008 budget, Congresses enacted $457.3 million in funding for such programs, $132.5 million over Bush’s proposed funding level for that year, according to PAI. According to the Daily Women’s Health Policy Report, chair of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) said Bush’s proposed budget will be “dead on arrival” in Congress.