One of the most impactful things you can do is contact your Member of Congress and tell them why you care. Encourage them to urge the administration to restore funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and support international reproductive health and family planning programs around the world.
I am writing to encourage you to support full funding for international family planning and reproductive health, including resources for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), as part of the U.S. foreign aid budget. 225 million girls and women around the world don’t want to be pregnant, but face barriers or lack of access to effective contraceptives. This inability to delay pregnancy for girls, one-third of whom are married in the developing world, and to plan pregnancy for women, leads to higher rates of maternal mortality, higher rates of infant mortality, more school drop outs, and lower incomes.
Every year, close to 300,000 women die in developing countries because of pregnancy-related causes. Pregnancy and childbirth complications still remain a leading cause of death for girls in the developing world, whose bodies are not ready to give birth. Providing the 225 million girls and women with information about and access to the family planning services they currently lack could significantly reduce maternal and infant deaths.
Beyond the health benefits, young women who can delay and plan child birth are more likely to receive an education, raise their standard of living, and climb out of poverty.
Investments in international family planning are also cost-effective. Every dollar spent on family planning can save governments up to $6 in averted health care and other costs. Further, one-third of the growth of Asian “tiger” economies is attributed to a demographic shift, spurred by family planning.
Additionally, empowering women to have the number of children they desire can improve environmental sustainability by allowing women to better manage natural resources such as firewood, water, and homegrown food for their families. Meeting the demand for family planning could slow and even reverse CO2 emissions by 2050.
Finally, there are more refugees today than at any time since the end of World War II, and over half are women and children. U.S. funds, particularly those going to UNFPA, are essential to meeting the reproductive health needs of millions of displaced girls and women globally. From safe birthing services, to gender-based violence counseling to accessing contraceptives, UNFPA and USAID are working together to provide vital services in Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic and beyond.
Women and girls around the world have a right to choose whether, when, and how many children to have. The U.S.’s investment in family planning and reproductive health is critical in order to ensure girls and women everywhere can access that right and live healthy, productive lives.
Did you know that more than 225 million girls and women in developing countries want to avoid pregnancy, but are not using safe and effective family planning methods? Investing in international reproductive health and family planning isn’t just the right choice, it’s the smart choice.
UAP’s NGO partners advance universal international reproductive health and family planning by educating policymakers, organizing grassroots support, connecting population, health, and the environment, and promoting faith-based leadership.