Report: Cuts to global family-planning aid could mean more unwanted pregnancies, deaths
Should the U.S. House GOP proposal to cut family-planning funding, as laid out in the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, or HR 1, pass, international recipients of family-planning aid will likely see high increases in maternal deaths, unintended pregnancies and abortion, according to a Guttmacher Institute report released this week.
A provision in HR 1 — which the Senate initially rejected — appropriates not more than $440 million for family-planning/reproductive health services overseas and states that none of those funds can be made to any foreign non-governmental organization that promotes or performs abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is threatened. This would translate to about $200 million in cuts to family-planning assistance overseas; currently, $648.5 million is appropriated for foreign family-planning assistance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The money is administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The Guttmacher Institute says that funding amount makes it possible for:
- 39 million women and couples to receive contraceptive services and supplies,
- 12 million unintended pregnancies and 5 million unplanned births to be averted,
- 5 million induced abortions to be averted (4 million of them unsafe),
- 33,000 maternal deaths to be averted,
- 4 million fewer healthy years of life to be lost among women, and
- 150,000 fewer children to lose their mothers.
Slicing that funding by $200 million, as proposed in the House-approved, HR 1 would, according to Guttmacher, mean that:
- 12 million fewer women and couples would receive contraceptive services and supplies,
- 3.8 million more unintended pregnancies and 1.6 million more unplanned births would occur,
- 1.6 million more abortions would take place (of which 1.2 million would be unsafe),
- 10,000 more maternal deaths would occur,
- 1.2 million more years of healthy life would be lost, and
- 46,000 more children would lose their mothers. The American Independent previously flagged these potential cuts, which would basically reinstate the global gag rule, a now-defunct policy denying foreign aid money to any organizations involved in abortion.