RL33250 - International Population Assistance and Family Planning Programs: Issues for Congress
21-Sep-2007; Luisa Blanchfield ; 22 p.
Update: Previous releases:
June 6, 2006
MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS:
The House Appropriations Committee reported H.R. 5522, the FY2007 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, on May 25, 2006. The Committee recommended a total of $432 million for reproductive health and family planning activities. Of the total, $350 million would come from the Child Survival and Health appropriation account. $34 million would be available to the U.N. Population Fund if it becomes eligible for U.S. support. The full House will consider the bill on June 8.
On November 14, 2005, the President signed the FY2006 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act (H.R. 3057/P.L. 109-102). The spending measure included $440 million for bilateral population assistance activities. The enacted measure further earmarked $34 million as a U.S. contribution to UNFPA, $11.5 million of which would be drawn from the $440 million total for bilateral programs and $22.5 million would come from the International Organizations and Programs account. The Administration had requested $425 million for total bilateral and UNFPA funding, while the Senate recommended $450 million for bilateral programs and a $35 million UNFPA contribution. Conferees further deleted text approved by the Senate that would have modified restrictions (“Kemp-Kasten” conditions) on funding for UNFPA and would have effectively overturned the Mexico City policy related to abortion. The White House indicated the President would veto H.R. 3057 if the final bill included the Senate-proposed policy changes.
On September 17, 2005, the State Department announced that the United States, for the fourth consecutive year, would withhold its voluntary contribution to UNFPA because the organization did not comply with the Kemp-Kasten restrictions. This provision, enacted annually in Foreign Operations appropriation bills since 1985, bans U.S. support for organizations involved in the management of a coercive family planning program. UNFPA maintains activities in China where there is strong evidence of coercive practices. The State Department said that it would consider future funding for UNFPA if the organization altered its programs in China or if China terminated its practice of coercive abortion.
Abstract: Since 1965, the U.S. government has supported international population planning based on principles of volunteerism and informed choice that gives participants access to information on all methods of birth control. This policy, however, has generated contentious debate for over two decades, resulting in frequent clarification and modification of U.S. international family planning programs. Given the divisive nature of this debate, U.S. funding of these programs will likely remain a point of contention during the 110th Congress.
In 1984, controversy arose over U.S. population aid policy when the Reagan Administration introduced restrictions, which became known as the “Mexico City policy.” The Mexico City policy denies U.S. funds to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning — even if the activities are undertaken with non-U.S. funds. Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush also banned grants to the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) due to evidence of coercive family planning practices in China.
President Clinton resumed UNFPA funding and reversed the Mexico City policy in 1993. President George W. Bush, however, re-applied the Mexico City restrictions. Following a State Department investigation of family planning programs in China, the Administration suspended U.S. contributions to UNFPA in 2002, citing violations of the “Kemp-Kasten” amendment, which bans U.S. assistance to organizations that support or participate in the management of coercive family planning programs. The suspension of U.S. contributions to UNFPA has continued through FY2007.
Foreign operations programs are currently being funded under the terms of a continuing resolution, which provides funding similar to the FY2006 level with some adjustments. Therefore, the current level of funding for bilateral family planning activities should be around $440 million — the enacted level for bilateral population assistance activities in FY2006 (see H.R. 3057/P.L. 109-102).
The Bush Administration’s FY2008 budget request includes $324.8 million for family planning health activities. The Administration proposed that $25 million in UNFPA funding be drawn from the $324.8 million bilateral family planning request if the organization is determined eligible under the Kemp-Kasten amendment.
On June 21, 2007, the House passed H.R. 2764, the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Appropriations Bill, FY2008, which appropriates $441 million for reproductive health and voluntary family planning programs, and $40 million for UNFPA if it is found eligible under the Kemp-Kasten amendment. On June 22, 2007, the Senate passed its version of H.R. 2764, which appropriated $461.06 million for family planning and reproductive health programs. It did not specify a funding amount for UNFPA. This report, originally drafted by Larry Nowels, will be updated as events warrant.