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Coalition Letter to House RE: HR 4188
HR 4188 - Focus on Family Health Worldwide Act of 2005

3/8/2006
Dear Representative:

We, the undersigned organizations, respectfully ask you to co-sponsor H.R. 4188, the Focus on Family Health Worldwide Act of 2005.  The President’s budget request for FY 2007 proposed substantial cuts to voluntary family planning and reproductive health programs.  U.S. support for international family planning programs has declined by more than 30 percent over the last decade.  The Administration’s proposed budget cuts would place additional stress on these already over-burdened and under-funded programs.  Becoming a co-sponsor of H.R. 4188 is a valuable and timely opportunity to demonstrate support for these critical programs. 

H.R. 4188 is a bi-partisan bill, introduced by Representatives McCollum, Oberstar, Ramstad and Shays.  The bill authorizes increased funding to family planning programs implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Specifically, H.R. 4188 increases authorized funding to $600 million in FY 2007, and then by an additional $100 million annually, over the next four years, reaching $1 billion in FY 2011.  The bill also prioritizes funding allocation to countries with acute family planning and maternal and child health needs, where contraceptive shortages are forecast, and to areas where high population growth rates and crucial biological diversity intersect.

Each minute a woman dies in childbirth.  For every woman who dies, 30 others suffer chronic pregnancy related disability or illness.  Each day some 14,000 people – about half of them between the ages of 15 and 24 – are infected with HIV.  Many of these deaths and illnesses are preventable.

Current predictions are that world population will grow from 6.5 billion today to 9 billion by 2050. Approximately 99 percent of this growth will take place in the poorest countries of the world, where population growth already outpaces economic growth, environmental protections, and social services.  Such an increase will place enormous pressure on natural resources and exacerbate many environmental problems including the loss of wildlife habitat, fisheries depletion, air and water pollution and climate change.

The good news is that we know what works.  Past family planning investments by the U.S. Agency for International Development have delivered contraception and health care education to millions of people in more than 70 countries around the world. Providing access to modern contraception in less developed countries could prevent 1.4 million infant deaths and 142,000 maternal deaths annually. In Latin America, a $1 investment in family planning saves up to $12 in other health and related costs.

Supporting international family planning programs saves lives, money, and natural resources.  Therefore, we ask you to please co-sponsor H.R. 4188.  Thank you for your consideration and your assistance in helping both people and the planet. 


Respectfully,

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
CARE
Center for Health and Gender Equity
Center for Women Policy Studies
Citizens for Global Solutions
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
EngenderHealth
The Episcopal Church 
Global AIDS Alliance
Global Health Council
The Hunger Project
International Center for Research on Women
International Women's Health Coalition
Izaak Walton League of America
National Audubon Society
National Council of Jewish Women
National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
National Wildlife Federation
Pathfinder International
Population Action International
Population Institute
Presbyterian Church (USA), Washington Office
The Sierra Club
Student Campaign for Child Survival
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
Women's Edge Coalition

 



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