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July 17, 2008

Pro-Choice Americans Praise Family-Planning Funding Increase

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, praised lawmakers for passing an historic funding increase for international family-planning programs. The move came last night when the House Appropriations Subcommittee for State and Foreign Operations unveiled and passed its appropriations bill for fiscal year 2009.

"This increase is critically important to ensure that women receive the family-planning care they need," Keenan said. "As women around the world struggle to obtain basic reproductive-health care, we need to invest in these essential programs that provide services, such as cancer screenings and prenatal care."

The bill increases USAID funding, from $461 million to $600 million for international family planning. It also provides $60 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and includes language clarifying that these funds must be released. Bush has cancelled funding for this program for seven consecutive years. UNFPA provides critical family-planning services, prenatal care, and other primary health services in more than 100 developing countries.

Keenan said the subcommittee's action underscores how pro-choice congressional leadership can have an impact on women's everyday lives.

"Pro-choice Americans applaud Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and other members of the subcommittee for their commitment to women's health," Keenan said. "President Bush has starved these programs for his entire presidency – and when it was under anti-choice control, Congress usually followed his lead. Thankfully, under new pro-choice leadership, Congress has put aside the usual Bush-style politics of rhetoric and division, and instead focuses on positive policies to provide essential healthcare to the world's poorest women."

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