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Rep. Clarke Introduces Global Sexual & Reproductive Health Act of 2010

Legislation Promotes Sexual and Reproductive Health in Developing Nations.

Washington, DC. – Yesterday, Congresswoman Clarke introduced H.R. 5121, the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2010. This legislation seeks to strengthen and expand the U.S. government’s current program on international family planning and reproductive health into a more comprehensive sexual and reproductive health program. Building upon previous achievements, this legislation aims to combat the denial of important and often life-saving health services for those in developing countries.

“The United States has achieved remarkable successes in its international family planning and reproductive health program, and this bill would extend its leadership role on global sexual and reproductive health issues,” stated Rep. Clarke. “By revising existing legislation to meet current international standards, we can establish an integrated, progressive model for delivering more efficient and effective sexual and reproductive health services across the globe.”

This comprehensive legislation would support voluntary family planning, education and outreach, reduction of unsafe abortion, STI and HIV prevention, contraceptive development, training of healthcare professionals, and various other initiatives.

Original co-sponsors of the bill include Reps. Tammy Baldwin, Lois Capps, Judy Chu, Steve Cohen, Susan Davis (CA), Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee (CA), Dennis Moore (KS), Carolyn Maloney, Kendrick Meek, Jan Schakowsky, Louise Slaughter, Pete Stark, Diane Watson, and Lynn Woolsey.

“Family planning and reproductive health resources are critical to the success of developing nations,” said Congresswoman Lee. “This legislation makes providing these resources a key component of our US foreign assistance programs. I commend Rep. Clarke for introducing this much needed legislation and for her leadership on this issue.”

“This legislation will arm women throughout the world with the knowledge and resources they need to make the best choices for themselves and their families. As a public health nurse, I have long advocated for comprehensive reproductive health education to reduce the transmission of disease and preventable death. I applaud Rep. Yvette Clarke for her leadership on this issue,” said Capps.

“Fulfilling the need for sexual and reproductive health services would produce dramatic results. For example, providing contraceptives to the 215 million women in developing countries who are not able to access modern contraceptive methods would avert: 53 million unintended pregnancies; 150,000 women from dying of pregnancy-related complications; 600,000 children from losing their mothers, and 25 million induced abortions each year. Simultaneously investing in family planning services and pregnancy-related care would achieve even greater results by slashing maternal deaths by 70% and newborn deaths by almost half. ” stated Rep. Clarke.

“Taking a proactive approach to global sexual and reproductive health ensures a brighter future for women and their families in developing nations,” said Rep. Clarke. “As a proud member of the Congressional Women’s Caucus, I believe that these programs have been underfunded for too long. It is imperative that we act now. This legislation will build upon previous successes and establish an effective, long-term sexual and reproductive health program,” stated Rep. Clarke.