Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
July 15, 2008  
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Leads Call to Increase Funding for International Family Planning Programs   

 Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today led a group of 13 Senators in writing the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs to request that the committee increase funding for international family planning programs to $1 billion annually.

The text of the Senators’ letter follows:

July 15, 2008

The Honorable Patrick Leahy, Chairman

Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations,

  and Related Programs

Committee on Appropriations


The Honorable Judd Gregg, Ranking Member

Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations,

   and Related Programs

Committee on Appropriations


Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Gregg:

We write to request that you make a substantial investment in international family planning programs in the Fiscal Year 2009 State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. In order to begin to address the unmet need for family planning services and contraception among women in the developing world, the United States must increase funding to $1 billion annually. Such an investment would bring enormous benefits. In fact, each additional $100 million in funding can help cover 3.6 million more family planning users; prevent more than two million unintended pregnancies; prevent nearly 825,000 abortions; save the lives of 70,000 infants; and prevent 4,000 maternal deaths.


We also ask that within the $1 billion, you reserve $63.5 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with language that ensures such funding is released by the Administration. This level equals the regular annual contribution to UNFPA appropriated by Congress in FY2008 as well as a phased-in reimbursement of the funds withheld from UNFPA between 2002 and 2008 by the Bush Administration.

 The United  States has been and remains the single largest contributor of funds for family planning and reproductive health services worldwide. However, over the last twelve years, U.S. funding for family planning has declined by 40 percent in real dollars. At the same time, the number of women of reproductive age in the developing world has increased by more than 233 million. Today, it is estimated that more than 200 million women do not have access to effective, modern contraceptives. Furthermore, the number of contraceptive users is projected to increase by 40 percent from 2000 to 2015.  

The failure to provide adequate funding for international family planning has grave consequences for the health and well-being of women, families and communities across the globe. More than half a million women die every year from pregnancy and childbirth, and the vast majority of these deaths are preventable. Virtually all maternal deaths occur in developing countries, where there are limited services to promote safe motherhood and a lack of basic health infrastructure. In addition, nearly 3.4 million of the eight million infant deaths each year occur within the first week of life and are often due to the lack of care or inappropriate care during pregnancy, delivery and the post-partum period.

Reproductive health and family planning are also critical to achieving sustainable development and protecting the global environment. The world population is growing by more than 70 million people every year, and 95 percent of this growth is in developing countries. This continuing population growth is a major contributor to resource scarcity and hinders efforts to combat climate change. Unsustainable population growth plays a role in the destruction of forests and the spread of deserts, the pollution and overfishing of oceans and waterways, and increases in emissions that contribute to global climate change.

It is critical that the United States make a real investment in family planning programs. Such an investment will improve the quality of life for people around the world and will help address preventable problems that threaten resource stability, civil security, and maternal and child survival. Therefore, we strongly urge you, as a first step, to increase funding for international family planning to $1 billion in the Fiscal Year 2009 State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

Thank you for your attention to this important request. We hope we can count on your support.


Barbara Boxer                                                              Hillary Rodham Clinton

United States Senator                                                 United States Senator


Jeff Bingaman                                                               Barack Obama

United States Senator                                                   United States Senator


Olympia J. Snowe                                                        Edward M. Kennedy

United States Senator                                                United States Senator


Robert Menendez                                                         John F. Kerry

United States Senator                                                 United States Senator


Bernard Sanders                                                           Debbie Stabenow

United States Senator                                                   United States Senator


Frank R. Lautenberg                                                     Sherrod Brown

United States Senator                                                   United States Senator


Maria Cantwell                                                

United States Senator