05.01.01

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE PASSES CONGRESSWOMAN LEE'S BI-PARTISAN AMENDMENT TO OVERTURN MEXICO CITY ANTI-FAMILY PLANNING POLICY

Washington, DC - The House International Relations Committee today voted 26-22 to pass an amendment to the Foreign
Relations Authorizations Act for FY02 and FY03 offered by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) to overturn the Memorandum issued by President Bush re-instating the Mexico City international family planning policy.

The Mexico City Policy prohibits foreign non-governmental organizations receiving U.S. federal funds from promoting or providing family planning services. By placing these restrictions on family planning services, the Administration is severely limiting the ability of family planning programs in developing countries to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, stop unwanted pregnancies, and utilize proper population control mechanisms.

"It is crucial that women across the world have fundamental access to health care. Our support of international family planning
helps save lives, promotes women's and children's health, and strengthens families and communities around the world," said
Lee. "By denying these vital services, we deny women access to methods of contraception, leading to a higher risk of spreading the HIV/AIDS virus. This amendment, which received bipartisan support, will allow organizations to provide a wide range of vital family planning services that will help curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases."

The amendment offered by Lee contained the text of a H.R. 755, the Global Democracy Protection Act, a bipartisan bill authored by Nita Lowey (D-NY) Christopher Shays (R-CT) Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and James Greenwood (R-PA).

"I would like to thank all the Democrats and the Republicans on the International Relations Committee who worked with us in a bi-partisan manner to help overturn this misguided policy that limits women's access to international family planning services,"
said Lee. "Often, family planning clinics are the only point of contact women have with the health care system in their country. It is essential that family planning counseling as well as information about HIV/AIDS prevention be provided."

"The Mexico City policy would be unconstitutional in this country. We should not impose these unfair, dangerous provisions on women in other nations," concluded Lee.

Congresswoman Lee thanked Ranking Democratic Member Tom Lantos (D-CA) and the International Relations Committee staff for all of their hard work. She also thanked the Democrat and Republican authors of the bill and urged her House colleagues to pass the Foreign Relations Authorization Act when it comes to the House Floor.

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