Analysis of the omnibus bill passed just last night by the Senate and shared with RH Reality Check by Planned Parenthood Federation of America reveals that Congress has taken a critical first step toward full funding of sexual and reproductive health programs.
The bill increases funding for the following domestic and international programs programs (from what we know as of this writing).
- An increase of $7.5 million for Title X over the $305 million appropriated in FY ’08. Title X is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to family planning and reproductive‐health services. Title X clinics offer a wide range of services including contraceptive methods, counseling and education; screening for breast and cervical cancer, and for sexually transmitted diseases; hypertension and blood pressure measurement; and prenatal, postpartum and well‐baby care.
- An increase of $40 million for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) over its 2008 budget of approximately $1.255 billion. NICHD conducts and supports research on all stages of human development, from
preconception to adulthood, to better understand the health of
children, adults, families, and communities.
- A decrease of $14 million for abstinence-only programs, which is a small start toward the goal of eliminating funding for these programs altogether.
International Agencies and programs:
- The bill both appropriates $50 million for the United Nations Population Fund and including language ensuring funding for critical programs, such as provision of safe delivery kits in areas affected by conflict or natural disaster. These funds will be provided notwithstanding other legal restrictions that have been used for political purposes to deny UNFPA needed funds;
- An increase of $150 million increase for USAID reproductive health and family planning programs; and
- An increase of $498 million dollars for US global AIDS funding (PEPFAR), over the FY 2008 appropriation of $5.99 billion.
For much of the past 8 years, these and other programs, with the exception of NICHD and PEPFAR, have been forced to deal with at best minor increases in funding and, at worst, budgets that have declined in real terms in a hostile political environment. This omnibus provides a welcome first step toward restoring urgently needed funds, though we as yet have a long way to go.