FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
By Reversing 'Mexico City Policy,' Releasing UNPFA Funds, President Obama Demonstrates that his Administration Values Women's Health & Lives, Women's Leader Says
WASHINGTON, D.C. — January 23, 2009 — The National Partnership for Women & Families applauded President Barack Obama for overturning the pernicious global gag rule, also known as the “Mexico City policy,” and endorsing the resumption of a U.S. contribution to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) upon enactment of the FY 2009 spending bill, on just his third day in office.
“This impact of this action will be quick and far-reaching,” National Partnership President Debra L. Ness said. “It was callous to deny family planning aid to nongovernmental organizations that use their own funds to counsel, refer or pay for abortion services. Reversing this policy will mean fewer unplanned pregnancies, fewer sexually transmitted infections, fewer women infected with HIV/AIDS, fewer unsafe abortions, and fewer avoidable deaths among women worldwide.”
“Lifting the gag rule will allow overseas family planning agencies to provide vital contraceptive services without giving up their right to speak out on issues of critical importance to women’s health,” Ness continued. “Today’s action puts us firmly on the side of free speech, women’s health, and the rights of health care providers to freely communicate with patients. It sends a powerful signal that America is ready to resume its leadership in the international health arena.”
The National Partnership also commended President Obama’s decision to release congressionally appropriated funds for UNFPA that are used to provide vital reproductive health services to some of the world’s poorest women.
“This is a wonderful beginning,” Ness concluded. “We look forward to working with the new Administration to promote a pro-active prevention agenda that can reduce unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, and ensure that young people receive the information and services they need to make responsible choices about their sexual health. At a time when half of pregnancies in this country are unintended and teen pregnancy is once again on the rise, we need to work together on a comprehensive reproductive health agenda that emphasizes prevention while protecting access to abortion services for all Americans including the most vulnerable.”
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family.