Congresswoman Maloney has been a long-time supporter of the United Nations Population Fund, aiding global efforts to prevent and treat obstetric fistula, and passing the Afghan Women’s Act.
United Nations Population Fund
As a strong defender of international family planning, Congresswoman Maloney has been a longtime supporter of UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund). Throughout her time in Congress, Republicans have tried to cut funding to the UNFPA, especially during the Bush administration. Despite these efforts to thwart funding from UNFPA, Congresswoman Maloney has fought to reinstate and continue American funding of the organization to help women around the world gain access to family planning, safer pregnancies and childbirth, and overall better health care.
UNFPA has been, and continues to be, a leader in the renewed commitment of the world community to stabilize global population and improve the status of women. The Agency operates in over 150 nations in the world and supplies ¼ of all grant assistance to population programs worldwide; more than ½ of UNFPA’s assistance is devoted to maternal and child health programs, including voluntary family planning.
Thanks to the UNFPA’s efforts, in 2014 64 countries had made gender action plans that include reproductive rights, 43 countries bettered the quality of their emergency health care, and the number of countries with laws that allow adolescents to access sexual and reproductive health services increased from 74 in 2013 to 86 in 2014.
Congresswoman Maloney strongly supports a comprehensive approach to end obstetric fistula – prevention to eliminate occurrences, treatment to repair those women who already suffer, and rehabilitation to help those recovering fully heal and reenter society. The Congresswoman sponsored the Obstetric Fistula Prevention, Treatment, Hope and Dignity Restoration Act, which focuses on efforts to build local capacity and improve national systems to prevent and treat obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula is devastating; but does not have to be life-shattering. This bill would provide hope and a healthy future.
More than two million women worldwide have obstetric fistula resulting from prolonged labor without medical attention. The pressure created internally on a woman from this obstructed delivery kills tissue and a hole develops between the woman’s vagina and rectum, leaving the woman without control of her bladder and and/or bowels for the rest of her life without treatment, and often results in stillbirth. Many women with obstetric fistula are abandoned by their husbands and families because they are considered "unclean". Left without support, the women are often forced to beg or turn to prostitution to survive.
Obstetric fistula is preventable through medical interventions such as skilled birth attendants during labor and childbirth, providing access to family planning, and emergency obstetric care for women who develop complications as well as social interventions such as delaying early marriage and educating and empowering young women. Surgical repair has enabled many women and girls to physically recover from an obstetric fistula, but an estimated 2 million more women and girls are currently struggling with the devastating impact of an obstetric fistula and tens of thousands of additional cases continue to occur each year. Bipartisan legislation could help many of these women by providing aid to multilateral partners, such as UNFPA and the Campaign to End Obstetric Fistula, and to bilateral organizations, such as USAID, to aid in the prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula in foreign countries.
Afghan Women Empowerment Act
Congresswoman Maloney introduced the Afghan Women Empowerment Act in 2006, which would provide federal funding to Afghan women and girls for medical care, education, vocational training, protection from violence, legal assistance, and civil participation.
The state of women in Afghanistan has severely worsened over the last several decades. At one point in recent history, women were doctors, lawyers, government officials and university professors .They were allowed to serve their country in deep and meaningful ways through public and private employment. However, in recent years as terrorism has spread through the region, there have been many attacks on women, preventing them from keeping their jobs, getting an education, and in some cases even going out in public for fear of being persecuted or attacked. There is also no established rule of law, so when women are attacked, they often have no legal recourse to go after their attacker, putting their security at an even greater risk.
As a supporter of women’s rights internationally, Congresswoman Maloney supports increased efforts to promote women’s rights in Afghanistan, especially given the amount of US influence on the nation.
More on International Efforts
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens), Democratic Chair of the Congressional Women's Caucus, hailed the passage of the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill in the House, which will restore and increase the United State's commitment to international family planning. The successful bill raises USAID funding to $425 million, up from $385 million last year, and removes anti-democratic Gag Rule restrictions. Maloney released the following statement after the House vote:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) released the following statement this morning:
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, after learning about negotiations between the Administration and GOP congressional leaders to trade $1 billion in back dues to the United Nations for language linking the dues payments to restrictions on abortion advocacy, Congressional Women's Caucus Co-Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) released the following statement: