Population Connection Action Fund works to end population growth through progressive policy making in the United States. As the largest international family planning donor, the U.S. plays a major role in the ability of foreign reproductive health organizations to serve their patients and to expand their services to rural, Indigenous, and other under-served populations in their countries. Our primary focus is on permanently ending the Global Gag Rule through congressional repeal; ending the Helms Amendment in the Foreign Assistance Act; being a consistent donor, regardless of who’s in the White House, to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); and increasing international family planning funding to $1.74 billion a year, which is the U.S. “fair share” that we agreed upon at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo.
We also work in coalition with many other U.S. groups to support progressive domestic reproductive health policy, with a focus on increasing funding for Title X and ending the Hyde Amendment.
Read more about each of these policy priorities below, and join us in making the world a healthier, safer place, especially for women and girls.
The Global Gag Rule is one of the most deeply damaging policies ever enacted on foreign assistance funding. When it’s in place, the Gag Rule blocks U.S. federal funding for non-governmental organizations that provide abortion services, provide counseling or referrals, or advocate to decriminalize abortion—even when those activities are funded independently of U.S. aid.
The Helms Amendment, introduced in 1973 by Senator Jesse Helms, a Republican from North Carolina, is an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act which states that no U.S. foreign assistance funding may be used for “the performance of abortion as a method of family planning.” It has been used to bar funding for abortion services under any circumstances, even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the pregnant person.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is a critical partner in the effort to expand and improve family planning and other sexual and reproductive health services around the world. More than 180 countries contribute to UNFPA to help it work in some 150 low-income nations—three times as many to which the United States provides family planning aid directly.
The total amount needed from the United States is $1.74 billion per year—including $116 million for UNFPA—roughly $1 billion more than we’re currently investing. This figure represents our fair share of the total cost of satisfying unmet need worldwide, and it will bring enormous returns for people everywhere.
The United States introduced its first official domestic family planning program for low-income Americans in 1970: the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act, Title X of the Public Health Service Act (known by the shorthand Title X, which is pronounced “ten”).
The Hyde Amendment blocks United States federal funding from being used for abortion procedures, except in the cases of rape, incest, or threat to a pregnant person’s life. This means that many Americans who have health insurance through the federal government do not have the benefit of abortion coverage.