Pro-Choice Caucus Leaders Call on Biden Administration to Support Strong Funding Levels for Reproductive Health in FY 2024 Budget
Washington, DC – Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus leaders today sent a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young requesting the administration support strong funding levels for domestic and international family planning and reproductive health programs in the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget request.
The letter is signed by Pro-Choice Caucus (PCC) Chairs Reps. Barbara Lee and Diana DeGette and PCC leadership members Reps. Norma Torres, Lizzie Fletcher, Marilyn Strickland, Maxwell Frost, Ayanna Pressley, Judy Chu, Ted Liu, Jan Schakowsky, Julia Brownley, and Suzan DelBene.
“We appreciate the Biden-Harris Administration’s clear and early commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights in the U.S. and around the world, including efforts to repeal certain long-standing abortion coverage restrictions, such as the Hyde Amendment,” the lawmakers wrote. “Proposing significant increased investments in these critical programs and eliminating all anti-abortion policy riders in the next fiscal year will be key to delivering on that commitment, especially in light of the Supreme Court’s June 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision—which has severely curtailed access to abortion across the country and has had implications for sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world.
“We hope the FY 2024 budget request will take further action to support UNFPA and propose updating the Kemp-Kasten Amendment to address all forms of reproductive coercion and delete the requirement for a presidential determination. We look forward to working with you to end these harmful policies.”
The full letter text is copied below.
Director Shalanda Young
Office of Management and Budget
Executive Office of the President
725 17th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20503
Dear Director Young,
As leaders of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, we write to request your support for strong funding levels for domestic and international family planning and reproductive health programs in the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget request. We appreciate the Biden-Harris Administration’s clear and early commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights in the U.S. and around the world, including efforts to repeal certain long-standing abortion coverage restrictions, such as the Hyde Amendment. Proposing significant increased investments in these critical programs and eliminating all anti-abortion policy riders in the next fiscal year will be key to delivering on that commitment, especially in light of the Supreme Court’s June 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision—which has severely curtailed access to abortion across the country and has had implications for sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world.
Title X Family Planning Program
We respectfully request that you propose $512 million in funding for the Title X family planning program. The network needs a significant influx of resources as it continues to rebuild from the damage done by the harmful policies of the Trump-Pence Administration and from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, 11 grants are scheduled to end in March 2023 without any replacement in services for those geographic areas—including the majority of Nevada and significant portions of Massachusetts and West Virginia—due to lack of funds. The requested level is based on the latest federal research on Title X; in 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Health and Human Services Office of Population Affairs conducted an evidence-based study that estimated the program would require annual appropriations of $737 million just to serve those in need of Title X-funded services. An increase to $512 million brings us halfway to that goal (based on FY 2023 funding of $286.5 million) and was the Senate’s proposed FY 2023 appropriation as well.
International Family Planning and Reproductive Health |
Bilateral and Multilateral Funding
We also respectfully request that you continue to build upon the investments made by the House of Representatives in the FY 2023 State and Foreign Operations bill and include robust funding levels for both bilateral family planning and reproductive health programs and for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). For FY 2023, the House Appropriations Committee approved a historic investment of $760 million for bilateral family planning and $70 million for UNFPA, the UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency. Further increases would send a strong signal to the world and significantly expand access to services that help women, girls, and families survive and thrive. It would be an important step toward delivering the $1.74 billion U.S. share to meet the needs of an estimated 218 million women in low- and middle-income countries who want to prevent or delay pregnancy, but face significant barriers to using modern contraceptive methods.
The United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) leadership is critical to ensure countries meet the family planning and reproductive health needs of their people. Our nation's investments in international family planning have had a significant sustained impact in recent years. The funding appropriated for international family planning and reproductive health programs and UNFPA in FY 2021 made it possible for:
- 27.2 million women and couples to receive contraceptive services;
- 12 million unintended pregnancies to be averted;
- 4 million unsafe abortions to be averted; and
- 19,000 maternal deaths to be averted.
These investments not only save and improve lives but are also highly cost-effective. Family planning and reproductive health programs contribute to our shared global health, development and foreign policy goals, including prioritizing women and girls, advancing gender equality, reducing infant and maternal mortality, preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and combating gender-based violence. As such, we recommend robust funding, that builds on the FY 2023 House Appropriations Committee-passed levels, for international family planning and reproductive health programs.
After four years of having its U.S. funding contribution withheld and reprogrammed due to a politically motivated decision by the previous Administration, we are grateful for the Biden Administration’s swift action to restore funding to the UNFPA. UNFPA plays a critical role in helping the U.S. achieve its global health and gender equality goals as the largest multilateral provider of family planning and reproductive health services, working in more than 155 countries, often where USAID does not operate family planning or reproductive health programs. The agency also plays a critical role in combating maternal morbidity and mortality, ending the unmet need for voluntary family planning, and ending gender-based violence and harmful practices like child marriage and female genital mutilation. In humanitarian crises and conflict affected areas, such as Afghanistan, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen, UNFPA has taken a leading role in responding to reproductive and community health and protection needs. We recommend that the President demonstrate support for this work by providing UNFPA with a funding level no less than the House Appropriations Committee-passed FY 2023 level.
The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to strain health systems across the country and around the world, which has disrupted access to sexual and reproductive health services and disproportionately burdened women and trans people, especially Black and brown women and those living in low- and middle-income countries. We must scale up investments in domestic and international family planning and reproductive health programs that have served communities for decades to not lose further momentum as we fight this pandemic and address persistent health equity challenges.
Policy Riders and Coverage Bans
We urge the President’s FY 2024 budget request to remove all policy riders that limit sexual and reproductive health and rights in the U.S. and around the world. This includes the removal of all abortion funding and coverage bans that impact access to abortion—namely the Hyde Amendment, the Weldon Amendment, and the Helms Amendment.
These harmful abortion coverage bans have a far-reaching impact on people enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare; federal employees and their dependents; Peace Corps Volunteers; Indigenous people; women in federal prisons and immigration detention centers; and residents of the District of Columbia. We are grateful that the President’s FY 2022 and FY 2023 budgets proposed to eliminate the Hyde Amendment and the ban on D.C.’s use of local funds for abortion coverage. We request that all abortion coverage bans be eliminated from the FY 2024 budget, and these include the bans that affect persons incarcerated in federal prisons and federal employees.
We ask that the President also call for an end to the Weldon Amendment, which for years has been attached to Hyde. It has been used to deny people abortion care and threaten state and local policymakers that seek to expand abortion coverage and access. Opponents of abortion access, including the previous Administration, have invoked the Weldon Amendment in attempts to block policies to expand abortion care and coverage by threatening policymakers with the loss of critical federal health dollars. The harm of the Weldon Amendment is more dire now, as reports of patients being turned away for essential medical care and urgent medical interventions continue to arise. Now more than ever, states that want to protect their residents and those coming to their state to receive care must be allowed to enact policies that expand abortion access without fear of retaliation.
The Dobbs decision has had and will continue to have an impact globally as anti-abortion rights actors are emboldened and as confusion and stigma push services out of reach for millions of people. That is why we ask the President to build on his important step of rescinding the global gag rule on non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. assistance and express support for a permanent repeal of this harmful rule, consistent with the language in the FY23 House-passed State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. We also ask for the budget request to include the elimination of all global abortion funding restrictions, including the Helms Amendment. Under the Helms Amendment, U.S. foreign assistance for abortion-related services remains restricted, denying people around the world the life-saving care that they want and need. Finally, we applaud the proposal in the FY 2023 budget request to remove funding conditions applied to UNFPA. We hope the FY 2024 budget request will take further action to support UNFPA and propose updating the Kemp-Kasten Amendment to address all forms of reproductive coercion and delete the requirement for a presidential determination. We look forward to working with you to end these harmful policies.
We are committed to working with you to advance these key priorities and appreciate your consideration and your ongoing leadership.