On Wednesday, the House passed the Fiscal Year 2022 State, Foreign Operations, and Relating Programs appropriations bill. The bill contains several provisions that work to advance sexual health and reproductive rights across the globe.
Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) Subcommittee Chair, first wrote the bill and spearheaded its passage.
“This bill makes critical investments in global health and humanitarian needs, provides strong funding to address the climate crisis, and advances gender equity,” Rep. Lee said.
The Fiscal Year 2022 SFOPS appropriations bill allocates a combined $830 million in funding for bilateral and multilateral family planning, which is a $222 million increase in funding compared to Fiscal Year 2021’s appropriations.
The bill would notably repeal the Global Gag Rule, which currently prohibits non-governmental organizations (NGOs) outside the U.S. that receive U.S. funding from using any of their funds, including those received from other sources, to perform or advocate for abortion as “a method of family planning.” This denies women and girls access to safe abortion around the world, increasing unsafe abortions and rates of maternal mortality.
Additionally, the new SFOPS bill does not include the Helms amendment, which prohibits U.S. foreign assistance from being used for abortions in U.S.-run health care programs globally. Repealing the Helms amendment would promote access to safe abortion services for people living in low-income countries.
In terms of climate change action, the bill increases funding for efforts to reduce emissions around the world, such as appropriating funds for the Green Climate Fund.
Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), another proponent of the bill, spoke on its impact.
“It makes America stronger at home and respected again in the world,” Rep. DeLauro said. “It restores American leadership by responding to global health threats, including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”
“We are thrilled about the passage of the SFOPS bill by the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Nabeeha Kazi Hutchins, President and CEO of Population Action International, an organization that advocates for global reproductive health care.
“We commend Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Lee for crafting a bill that boldly prioritizes SRHR and Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and the other pro-family planning and reproductive health members in the House who helped to shepherd this bill through.”
Sources: House Appropriations Committee 7/28/21; Population Action International 7/29/21; Center for Reproductive Rights 1/10/18