Congress Should Continue Aid for Family Planning Abroad

By the end of 2012, the world's population will reach 7 billion. To ensure a healthy population increase, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is working to empower at least 215 million women around the world with family planning education and services. Currently in the U.S., Congress is once again debating how to invest in these programs. The State and Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee in the House of Representatives has campaigned against U.S. assistance for family planning abroad, citing issues with countries and agencies that perform abortions.

But, if the U.S. only wishes to fund programs that exclude abortion services from their activities, then it should seek out agencies and organizations that meet those criteria, rather than cutting funding for the UNFPA completely or placing restrictive conditions on other sovereign nations. UNFPA is an organization that does not actually encourage abortion as a birth control means, but instead calls for safer procedures in countries where the practice is legal. Saving women from unsafe clinics does not sound like something the U.S. should be against.

Reproductive education and services not only ensure healthy babies and mothers but also empower women to finish school or find a viable income before having children. This is not only good for health, but also the economy as women are empowered and able to both contribute to the workforce and care for future working generations. As the world's population increases in some of the poorest countries around the world, it is imperative that funding for international reproductive health continues freely.

Photo Credit: Hdptcar