A partisan showdown over women’s health and rights on Wednesday, October 5 focused on UNFPA during a committee mark up of Rep. Renee Ellmers’ (R-NC) bill to halt all US funding to the agency. Republican opposition to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is based on opposition to programs to protect health and rights – not as a budget savings measure. Here’s how we know. The Democratic minority in the committee offered 10 amendments – each designed to enable continue funding to UNFPA for specific activities. Each amendment was defeated. The amendments were to
IWHC values and appreciates the leadership shown by these champions, as well as by Chairman Howard Berman and others for their statements and actions in support of women’s health and rights. The State Department, in answer to a question during a press briefing about the House vote, also stood firmly behind UNFPA and its work.
IWHC urges Rep. Ellmers and her supportive colleagues to heed the words of Rev. Rebecca Quimada Sienes, founder of Buhata Pinaythe, a women’s organization in the Phillipines that focused on education, health and safety, livelihoods and political expression. She and her colleagues continue their work because they know “it is essential to help poor women have access to health services such as family planning, HIV/AIDS, etc. It is necessary so that they will have better life.” She wrote to the policymaker, saying “It is very sad to know that you are sponsoring H.R. 2059 blocking USA funding to UNFPA. I believe it is a wrong move for anybody to do this. I urge you Rep Ellmers to withdraw your bill because we, in Asia particularly the Philippines, believe in what the UNFPA is doing to the world’s poorest citizens. Please hear the call from the 64 & 74 years old women!”