International Family Planning Aid Escapes Massive Cuts
President Obama is expected to sign the FY 2012 omnibus spending bill, which includes $610 million in bilateral and multilateral funding for international family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH), cutting off international family planning by a mere $5 million from 2011. The Republican House had initially voted to cut international FP/RH by some 25%. Both the US House and Senate approved the spending bill last week. This represents a compromise; the President had requested $769 million and the Republican-controlled House had passed only $461 million.
The bill also allocates $35 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with the exception that the money not be spent in China or used for abortion services. The House bill had excluded all funding for UNFPA.
According to Population Action International, "US funding for FP/RH remains woefully inadequate in the face of the tremendous need that exists. 215 million women in developing countries want to avoid pregnancy but lack access to or information about modern contraception...The President should continue to request robust funding increases for these vital health programs when he presents his fiscal year 2013 budget to Congress in early February and continue to strongly oppose attempts to cut funding or impose harmful policy restrictions."
Media Resources: Population Action International 12/19/11; San Francisco Gate 12/16/11
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .