MALONEY HAILS VICTORY FOR WOMEN AND FAMILIES HOUSE RESTORES U.S. COMMITMENT TO INTERNATIONAL FAMILY PLANNING
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:
" Today we won a victory for women and families around the world - an end to the gag rule. But it is only a short term victory, a victory until February 15, 2000 when the next President will have the ability to support or again gag women's voices around the world.
:The biggest victory for women and families here in America and around the world will be electing a President that supports women's reproductive rights. Al Gore strongly opposes the gag rule, which is unconstitutional in our own country and unconscionable around the world. However, his opponent supports anti-democratic restrictions on some of the poorest women of the world.
"This is another reason why the choice for President on November 7 is so important.
"Today, US spending on international family planning is down by 30 percent, that is more than $200 million less being spent on saving women's lives than just five years ago. Earlier this year I introduced a bipartisan bill called Saving Women's Lives Through International Family Planning (HR 3634) to restore our commitment to international family planning back to FY 1995 levels without onerous restrictions. The President supported this effort in his budget request to Congress this year.
"While the Foreign Operations Appropriations Conference Report increases international family planning funds to $425 million, a $53 million increase, it is still $116 million below the President's request and FY 1995 funding levels. We still have more work ahead of us to fully restore our commitment to international family planning.
"Last year, the Administration budget negotiators were forced into a deal with Republican congressional leaders to trade $1 billion in back dues to the United Nations for language linking the dues payments to restrictions on abortion advocacy. When the bill was signed, President Clinton vowed to the Democratic Women Members of Congress that he would never again sign a bill that included the Gag Rule.
"Today, I would like to say 'Thank You' to the President and commend him for standing firm and making sure that the Foreign Operations Appropriations Conference Report removed the anti-democratic Gag Rule from law. With the world's population exceeding 6 billion people, and 3 billion of those under the age of 25, family planning is one of the biggest challenges we face. The $425 million, a $53 million increase, we passed today is the first step toward meeting that challenge and it will have a profound impact on the future of America and the future of the world. It will effect the environment, and the economy. And, every minute of every day, it will save women's lives."