Houlahan Moves to Restore Funding to UNFPA and Re-Honor U.S. Commitment to Protecting Women and Girls Across the Globe
Washington, June 16, 2021
Tags: Health Care
WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) is re-introducing her Support UNFPA Funding Act, co-led by Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Representatives Lois Frankel (D-FL), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Jackie Speier (D-CA). For four years, the Trump Administration refused to honor the United States commitment to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the lead UN agency working to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. Rep. Houlahan has worked closely with the Biden Administration to ensure that the United States restores funding to this vital organization, re-commit to the protection and elevation of women and girls around the world and work alongside our allies to invest in diplomatic measures like UNFPA that help build a more stable and peaceful globe.
“Since coming to Congress, I’ve been adamant that the United States must honor its commitment to the lifesaving work that UNFPA performs around the world,” said Houlahan. “I am proud that this bill has the robust support of the Biden Administration and many of my colleagues in Congress. What we know to be true is that when we invest in global efforts to support and protect women and families, we are simultaneously investing in United States national security. The data is clear – wherever women can access quality health services and thrive, stability, security and peace follow. For too long, conversations around national security and humanitarian efforts have been siloed. My legislation aims not only to fund an organization that saves lives, but also remind Americans that investing internationally makes the U.S. more secure. I am grateful to my colleagues and the many endorsing organizations for their support of this critical effort.”
“Supporting the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is integral to the promotion of sexual and reproductive rights, and global health around the world,” said Chairman Gregory Meeks. “The lifesaving work of UNFPA has prevented maternal deaths, reduced child marriage and gender-based violence and has empowered women and their communities through access to family planning and health resources. I support the Biden-Harris administration’s decision to resume funding for UNFPA and am proud to join my colleagues in making sure that Congress is doing its part to support the agency’s mission.”
“UNFPA does incredible humanitarian work by providing reproductive and maternal healthcare for women and girls across the world who are afflicted by war, famine and natural disasters,” said Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “The Congress must fully restore UNFPA funding so that it can continue its lifesaving work to stop child marriage, female genital mutilation and other injustices that threaten women’s lives and limit their potential. I’m proud to join Rep. Houlahan and my colleagues to champion this effort.”
“Women and girls need full control over their own reproductive destinies in order to live full, healthy, happy lives,” said Rep. Frankel. “UNFPA supports the sexual and reproductive health of millions around the world, helps prevent gender-based violence and provides women and girls with the education and care they need to be successful—it’s in all of our best interests to support their work.”
“Millions of people around the world rely on UNFPA for contraception, maternal health care, and other critical services,” DeGette said. “This legislation will help ensure strong and consistent U.S. support for UNFPA's essential mission and promote global access to reproductive health care.”
“UNFPA provides critical reproductive health care for millions of people around the globe, including preventing maternal deaths,” said Congresswoman Lee. “As our global health systems are strained from the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to restore US support for UNFPA and increase resources for reproductive health is greater than ever. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in this effort.”
Rep. Houlahan’s Support UNFPA Funding Act has earned the support of 126 cosponsors and been endorsed by 98 NGOs.
“All children deserve the opportunity to grow up healthy and thrive – no matter where they live,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP. The United Nations Population Fund is a critical, and sometimes the only, provider of health care for children and women around the world. It is vital to supporting child and maternal survival efforts and improving adolescent health. The American Academy of Pediatrics applauds Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) for her leadership on the United Nations Population Fund Act and we urge Congress to swiftly pass it into law.”
“A healthy future starts with a healthy beginning,” said Heidi Murkoff, Founder, What to Expect Project. “And that starts when a healthy woman is able to plan a healthy pregnancy—when and if she chooses, and when she is physically and emotionally ready. Ensuring access to a continuum of comprehensive reproductive healthcare throughout a woman’s reproductive lifetime—including a full range of contraceptive options—helps prevent complications of pregnancy, birth and postpartum, reduce maternal mortality and morbidity and lower the risk of birth defects, preterm birth and infant death. All while lowering healthcare costs. There is no better investment in our collective economic future than maternal health, no better investment in maternal health than reproductive health and no better investment in reproductive health than the essential, lifesaving global work of UNFPA. That’s why the What to Expect Project and I are so grateful for and honored to support Representative Houlahan’s Support UNFPA Funding Act. Because every mom around the world deserves the care she needs to deliver a healthy beginning and a healthy future to herself and the baby she loves.”
“Promoting reproductive health and rights allows women and girls around the world to realize their full potential,” said Ben Weingrod, Senior Director for Policy, Foreign Policy for America. “Rep. Houlahan’s Support Funding for UNFPA Act makes the critical connection between consistent U.S. policy and funding and the lifesaving work of the UN Population Fund. Foreign Policy for America strongly supports this bill and thanks Rep. Houlahan for her leadership to strengthen U.S. support for UNFPA, including its essential humanitarian work in crisis situations.”
“Time and again, the Trump administration prioritized its unpopular anti-choice ideology above the health, well-being and freedom of women and people around the world,” said Kristin Ford, Acting Vice President of Communications and Research, NARAL Pro-Choice America. “It is imperative that Congress take urgent action to authorize the funding to the United Nations Population Fund that Trump cruelly cut off. This harmful policy pushed access to care out of reach for women and families, including those in conflict zones and those suffering the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress must pass the Support UNFPA Funding Act to ensure that people around the world have access to the care they need and the freedom to make their own decisions about their lives, bodies and futures.”
“Planned Parenthood Federation of America applauds Rep. Chrissy Houlahan and her colleagues for introducing this important legislation and working to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights across the globe,” said Jacqueline Ayers, Vice President of Government Relations & Public Policy, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “We have also been pleased to see the Biden-Harris administration take concrete steps to rebuild their partnership with and restore funding for UNFPA, after the U.S. actively withheld funding from UNFPA for the past four years. UNFPA is working to end preventable maternal deaths, gender based-violence and the unmet need for contraceptives and to promote a human-rights based approach to family planning — work that has never been more important. As we continue to rebuild our partnerships across the globe, it is critical we support UNFPA’s mission so all people can secure reproductive freedom.”
“Since its establishment 50 years ago, UNFPA has been at the heart of global efforts to increase access to, and uptake of, sexual and reproductive health services,” said Dr. Zara Ahmed, U.S. International Policy Officer, Guttmacher Institute. “Today, UNFPA is the largest multilateral supporter of programming to increase voluntary access to modern methods of family planning, promote safe delivery and end gender-based violence, which is why strong and consistent U.S. support for UNFPA is critical to advancing reproductive health for people around the globe. Among other benefits, increased funding through UNFPA would help close the gap in unmet need for modern contraception currently faced by 218 million women in low- and middle-income countries around the world. For half a century, UNFPA has quietly and diligently supported people around the world to make informed choices about their reproductive lives. Now is the moment for the United States, in turn, to support UNFPA to continue this work and accelerate progress toward a healthier, more just world. Rep. Houlahan’s bill is a clear demonstration of U.S. support for UNFPA and its work, which is more critical than ever.”
Representative Houlahan spoke about her Support Funding for UNFPA Act on Bloomberg’s Balance of Power today. Watch her full interview here.
Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator and a nonprofit leader. She represents Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Small Business Committee.