President’s Budget Prioritizes International Family Planning

Washington Memo

April 10, 2013

President’s Budget Request Continues to Prioritize Family Planning and Reproductive Health

President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget request for international family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) proposes an important increase above the funding level just approved by Congress for the remainder of the current fiscal year, demonstrating his ongoing commitment to helping to address the unmet need for contraception of millions women in the developing world.

A variety of sources indicate that the Obama administration is proposing $635.4 million for bilateral and multilateral international FP/RH assistance—a $37.4 million or six percent increase above the estimated $598 million appropriated for FY 2013.

The international FP/RH funding increase called for in the budget request is a welcome development given the ongoing budget-cutting pressures, witnessed most recently with the imposition of sequestration cuts, and the fact that several other bilateral health sectors and UN agencies are proposed to receive less than their current funding levels.  The recommended funding increase signals the continuing priority that the President attaches to international FP/RH programs and responds to the targeted attacks and disproportionate cuts that have been directed at FP/RH funding and programs by congressional opponents over the last several years.

 

(in millions of dollars)

FY 2012 enacted

FY 2013 enacted (including sequestration) estimated#

FY 2014 President’s budget request

Global Health Programs account

523.9

522.1

534.0

Economic Support Fund & other

42.7

64.4

TOTAL, Bilateral FP/RH

575.0

564.8

598.4

U.S. contribution to UNFPA (IO&P)

35.0

33.2

37.0

TOTAL, bilateral & multilateral FP/RH

610.0

598.0

635.4

 

The majority of international FP/RH assistance in the President’s FY 2014 budget—$598 million—is for bilateral programs administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which provides family planning assistance in more than 50 countries.  The biggest share is requested within the Global Health Programs account—$534 million,  an increase of $12 million above current levels.  The remaining $64.4 million is contained in the Economic Support Fund, another large bilateral funding account targeted to politically and strategically important nations in the Middle East and South Asia.

Of the $635 million requested overall, $37 million is proposed for a U.S. contribution to the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), which provides critical FP/RH and maternal health services in more than 150 countries.  The proposed $4 million increase above the congressionally-enacted contribution of $33 million is another encouraging development contained in the President’s budget request, particularly noteworthy due to lower requests for individual UN agencies and an overall reduction in funding for the International Organizations & Programs (IO&P) account that provides U.S. voluntary contributions.

Despite the proposed funding increase, family planning still remains out of reach for the 222 million women in developing countries who do not want to become pregnant but do not have access to modern contraception.  The President is to be commended for seeking to move the United States closer to providing $1 billion annually for FP/RH programs—the U.S. fair share of the global funding necessary to address the current unmet need for contraception of these millions of women.

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#  Estimated FY 2013 enacted level reflects projected additional funding for FP/RH programs provided as a result of the overall increase in funding levels for the Global Health Programs (GHP) account contained in the FY 2013 continuing resolution (H.R. 933)—allocated based on the relative share of FP/RH funding within the GHP account—minus the 5.0 percent cut under sequestration, the rescission of 0.1 percent for accounts in budget function 150 (international affairs), and  a proportionate reduction in Economic Support Funds provided to FP/RH activities as a result of a $325 million transfer to development assistance.

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