Appropriations Committees Working to Restore UNFPA Funding Withheld by Bush
After the Senate Appropriations Committee, led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), approved the Foreign Operations Appropriations (FY2003) bill including $50 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in July, the House Appropriations Committee last week followed suit, earmarking $25 million for UNFPA. The Senate action came shortly after the Bush administration cut $34 million appropriated by Congress for the UNFPA. Bush made this decision despite a report from the administration’s own fact-finding team that found no evidence that the UN organization “knowingly supported or participated in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization in China.”
Introduced by Representative Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), the House bill (HR 5410) allocates $25 million for UNFPA while stipulating that no assistance be given to China’s State Family Planning Commission (SFPC)—the agency accused by the anti-abortion Population Research Institute of coercive practices.
The Senate version (S 2779) earmarks $50 million for UNFPA and similarly prohibits funding to any organizations directly participating in coercive family planning strategies.
The House and Senate bills have been placed on the Union and Legislative Calendars, respectively.
11/20/2014 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Priests for Life Challenge to Birth Control Coverage Rule - In a victory for women's health, a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Friday rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive coverage benefit brought by Priests for Life, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington and other religiously affiliated non-profit organizations.
Judge Nina Pillard, a former law professor who was nominated to the DC Circuit by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in December, wrote the opinion for the Court, which found that the ACA birth control benefit did not substantially burden or violate non-profits' religious freedom.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies must cover the full cost of all FDA-approved contraceptives - including the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception - without requiring co-pays or cost-sharing. . . .