Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke reintroduced H.R. 1319, "the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act." This legislation seeks to strengthen and expand the U.S. government's current program on international family planning and reproductive health into a more comprehensive sexual and reproductive health program. Building upon previous achievements, this legislation aims to increase the provision of essential and often life-saving health services for women, men and young people in developing countries.
"The United States has achieved remarkable successes in its international family planning and reproductive health program, and this bill would extend its leadership role on global sexual and reproductive health issues," stated Rep. Clarke. "By revising existing legislation to meet current international standards, we can establish an integrated, progressive model for delivering more efficient and effective sexual and reproductive health services across the globe."
This comprehensive legislation would support voluntary family planning, education and outreach, reduction of unsafe abortion, STI and HIV prevention, contraceptive development, training of healthcare professionals, and various other initiatives.
Original co-sponsors of the bill include; U.S. Reps. Tammy Baldwin, Earl Blumenauer Corrine Brown (FL), Lois Capps, Judy Chu, William Lacy Clay Jr., Steve Cohen, John Conyers, Susan Davis (CA), Diana DeGette, Elliot Engel, Bob Filner, Raul Grijalva, Luis Gutierrez, Mike Honda, Mazie Hirono, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rush Holt, Hank Johnson Carolyn Maloney, Ed Markey, Doris Matsui, Jim McDermott, James McGovern, Gwen Moore, Jim Moran, Donald Payne, Mike Quigley Charles B. Rangel, Laura Richardson, Bobby Rush, Loretta Sanchez, Jan Schakowsky, Jackie Speier, Pete Stark, Edolphus Towns, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Fredericka Wilson (FL), and Lynn Woolsey.
"Fulfilling the need for sexual and reproductive health services would produce dramatic results. For example, providing contraceptives to the 215 million women in developing countries who are not able to access modern contraceptive methods would avert an estimated 53 million unintended pregnancies each year. Simultaneously, meeting the need for both family planning, maternal and newborn health services would reduce maternal mortality by more than two-thirds and deaths of newborns by more than half, saving the lives of 251,000 women, 1.7 million newborns and preventing 14.5 million unsafe abortions," added Congresswoman Clarke.
Nearly 30 organizations support this legislation including the International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC), the National Organization of Women (NOW), the Secular Coalition for America Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), the Global AIDS Alliance, and the Center for Women and Policy Studies.
"Taking a proactive approach to global sexual and reproductive health ensures a brighter future for women and their families in developing nations. As a proud member of the Congressional Women's Caucus, I believe that these programs need to be further strengthened. It is imperative that we act now. This legislation will build upon previous successes and establish an effective, long-term sexual and reproductive health program," concluded Rep. Yvette D Clarke.