Congress Denies Funding for Fistula, Citing Abortion

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Congress Denies Funding for Fistula, Citing Abortion

Ellen Marshall

Using misinformed arguments and political concerns, the House Appropriations committee rejected an amendment by a vote of 23-30 to direct funds already in the bill to UNFPA’s obstetric fistula prevention and treatment efforts, should the Administration not release the funds for other family planning and women’s empowerment efforts. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick offered this compromise amendment to allow US support to UNFPA for very specific and non-controversial programs, as a constructive response to the Administration blocking the funding for the past four years.

Opponents said that inclusion of this amendment would “make it difficult to pass” the Foreign Operations bill on the floor – so much for meeting the public health needs of some of the world’s poorest women. Others threw their standard complaint into the mix, stating that this (in an extremely circuitous way) somehow supports abortion.

Using misinformed arguments and political concerns, the House Appropriations committee rejected an amendment by a vote of 23-30 to direct funds already in the bill to UNFPA’s obstetric fistula prevention and treatment efforts, should the Administration not release the funds for other family planning and women’s empowerment efforts. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick offered this compromise amendment to allow US support to UNFPA for very specific and non-controversial programs, as a constructive response to the Administration blocking the funding for the past four years.

Opponents said that inclusion of this amendment would “make it difficult to pass” the Foreign Operations bill on the floor – so much for meeting the public health needs of some of the world’s poorest women. Others threw their standard complaint into the mix, stating that this (in an extremely circuitous way) somehow supports abortion.

Go figure. The UNFPA works to prevent and treat obstetric fistula, a horrific and preventable pregnancy-caused injury that has been eliminated in the developed world. Sadly though, some 50,000 to 100,000 new cases of fistula occur every year in the developing world. The consequences of fistula are life shattering: The baby usually dies, and the woman loses control of her flow of urine and/or feces. The unpleasant odor is constant and humiliating, often driving husbands and loved ones away.

Somehow preventing this condition supports abortion?

Roe is gone. The chaos is just beginning.

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UNFPA