Backing Up Rhetoric with Funding

As Mark mentioned, we’ve seen a great start from the Obama
administration. It repealed the global gag rule, and reaffirmed American commitment to women’s health and global health. Talking the right talk is exactly what we need to do. Now that we’ve said all the right things, though, it’s time to prove we mean what we say.

Over the last eight years, European governments dug deep to try to replace the funding for women’s health – UNFPA in particular – that didn’t come from the US. If we want to regain our global leadership role on women’s health, we need more than words. We need to prove our commitment by paying our fair share. Rhetoric means nothing if we don’t back it up with resources.

It’s hard to ramp up funding in the face of economic crisis. It’s also essential. Margaret Chan pointed out in February that women and children are going to be hardest by the damage to our global economy.
Leadership in this context means making sure that the programs are in place to ameliorate that impact. That means good planning, evidence-based program design, and a multi-sectoral approach. But more than anything else, it means adequate funding.

This post is part of the After the Gag Rule salon hosted by RH Reality Check and UN Dispatch.

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    The Center for Reproductive Rights applauds the United State’s renewed leadership on women’s health. The US State Department has released $50 million in funds to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) which supports programs around the world to advance poor women’s reproductive health. In addition, on March 31st, the United States made public that Congress has approved an additional $545 million in bilateral assistance for family planning programs, another positive step towards proving that the United States intends to follow through in their commitment to women’s healthcare programs.

    “Be assured that, even in these uncertain economic times, the U.S. will not retreat from this commitment” (Margaret J. Pollack, USUN).

    Promoting foreign policies that ensure access to essential reproductive health services not only improves the lives of women around the world, it acknowledges the country’s obligations to respect women’s reproductive rights.