PDF _ IB96026 - Population Assistance and Family Planning Programs: Issues for Congress
26-May-2005; Larry Nowels; 18 p.

Update: June 2, 2005 Most Recent Developments: On April 5, the Senate adopted (52-46) an amendment by Senator Boxer to S. 600, the Foreign Affairs Authorization Act, that would effectively overturn the Bush Administration's ¨Mexico City¨ policy. This policy, which had been in place during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations, but lifted by President Clinton, U.S. overseas family planning grants to foreign non-governmental organizations unless they agree not to perform abortions or promote abortion as a method of family planning, even if such actions are done using non- U.S. government funds. In the past, the President has threatened to veto legislation containing such provisions.

Previously, on March 16, 2005, the House approved by voice vote an amendment by Representative Maloney to the FY2005 emergency supplemental appropriation (H.R. 1268) adding $3 million to the Tsunami Relief and Reconstruction Fund. Although the text of the amendment makes no reference to UNFPA or the purpose for which the $3 million will be used, supporters of the Maloney amendment say that their intent is for the United States to contribute to UNFPA?s appeal for additional resources that will help cover the organization?s costs of unanticipated needs in tsunami-affected countries. Conferees finalized H.R. 1268 on May 3, reducing the House-passed aid level for tsunami relief by $3 million and making no reference to a UNFPA contribution.

On February 7, 2005, the Bush Administration submitted its FY2006 budget to Congress, including a request for $425 million in international family planning programs, a total that would include $25 million for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) if the organization is determined to be eligible for U.S. support. This compares with an FY2005 appropriation of $441 million for bilateral family planning assistance, plus an additional $34 million earmark for UNFPA. The UNFPA funds, however, will be reviewed by the Administration later this year to determine if the organization satisfies the terms of the Kemp-Kasten amendment regarding an organizations?s involvement in coercive family planning programs.

Previous releases:

Abstract: Since 1965, United States policy 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.

In 1984, controversy arose over U.S. population aid policy when the Reagan Administration introduced restrictions, which became known as known as the ¨Mexico City policy.¨ (Opponents of the policy also refer to it as the ?Global Gag Rule.?) The ?Mexico City policy? denied U.S. funds to foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning, regardless of whether the money came from the U.S. government. Presidents Reagan and Bush also banned grants to the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) because of its program in China, where coercive practices have been used.

President Clinton resumed UNFPA funding and repealed the Mexico City policy. President George W. Bush, however, re-applied in January 2001 the Mexico City restrictions. Following a State Department investigation of family planning programs in China, the Administration suspended U.S. contributions to UNFPA on July 22, 2002, citing violations of the ?Kemp-Kasten? amendment. This provision bans U.S. assistance to organizations that support or participate in the management of coercive family planning programs. The decision, and similar positions in each of the two subsequent years, resulted in the loss of $93 million in for UNFPA, FY2002-FY2004.

For FY2005, Congress earmarked in Division D of P.L. 108-447 (Consolidated Appropriations Act) $441 million for bilateral family planning programs and $34 million for UNFPA. Conferees dropped two Senatepassed provisions that would have modified the Kemp-Kasten language in a way that would narrow somewhat the grounds on which the Administration can find UNFPA in violation and text that would effectively reverse the President's Mexico City policy. The Administration is expected to issue a determination regarding UNFPA eligibility for the FY2005 funding prior to September 30, 2005.

In his FY2006 Foreign Operations budget request, the President proposes $425 million for family planning programs, including $25 million for UNFPA should the organization be eligible under the Kemp-Kasten amendment. This compares with a total FY2005 appropriation for bilateral family planning and UNFPA of $475 million.

In related legislation, on S. 600, an omnibus State Department/Foreign Aid authorization measure, the Senate adopted an amendment by Senator Boxer that would effectively overturn the Mexico City policy. The bill has received a final vote in the Senate. [read report]

Topics: General Interest, Population, International

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