Sequestration Is Damaging to the World's Women and Their Communities
On Friday, March 1, President Obama and US Congressional leaders were unable to reach a deal to avoid sequestration. As sequestration takes effect, cuts will be felt not only in the United States, but around the world.
If sequestration is maintained, international family planning and reproductive health programs would likely face a 5.3 percent cut, or a net reduction of $32.3 million from the FY2012 appropriated level of $610 million.
These cuts would mean a major setback in terms of meeting the tremendous need for contraceptives in the developing world. Sequestration could leave 1.7 million women without contraceptives. This could result in 485,000 more unintended pregnancies, 1,292 deaths from pregnancy or childbirth, and 6,460 children who would lose their mothers. It is absolutely crucial that funding for reproductive health programs is protected from these harmful cuts.
"The effects of this sequestration is potentially incredibly damaging for women. It's damaging for their children. It's damaging for their communities and for our world," said Pathfinder President Purnima Mane. "Access to reproductive health is central to a healthy, productive life and when we cannot adequately provide that access, we're putting the lives of millions of women, girls, and their families at risk, not to mention their futures."
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Nearly two dozen health, advocacy, and faith groups are calling on President Barack Obama to take executive action clarifying that U.S. assistance can be used to fund abortion services for women and girls raped in the context of war and conflict.