The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Stephanie Feldstein, (734) 395-0770

U.S. House Appropriations Funding Cuts Threaten Wildlife

Reduced Funding for International Family Planning Hurts Women's Rights, Endangered Species


The Fiscal Year 2015 State Department and Foreign Operations appropriations bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee this week includes steep funding cuts that threaten the survival of wildlife around the world.

The bill cuts funding for family planning and reproductive health programs by 25 percent, capping it at $461 million. Universal access to family planning and reproductive healthcare are critical to addressing the population crisis that puts women, families, wildlife and the planet at risk. Several recent studies have shown the link between human population growth and wildlife extinctions, particularly in biodiversity hotspots. Most recently a study published in the journal Science determined that the current rate of species loss is more than 1,000 times greater than the background rate, primarily driven by human population growth and increased consumption.

"We add 227,000 people to the planet every day, and at the same time, species are disappearing at the fastest rate since the time of the dinosaurs," said Stephanie Feldstein, the Center for Biological Diversity's population and sustainability director. "By slashing funds for international family planning and reproductive healthcare, the House Appropriations Committee has turned its back on women's rights, as well as the climate crisis and the wildlife extinction crisis."

The House bill would also prohibit any contributions to the United Nations Population Fund and would reinstate the "global gag rule," which denies foreign organizations receiving U.S. family planning assistance the right to provide information or services for legal abortion, even when it's done using non-U.S. funds.

The Senate version of the bill increases funding for international family planning and reproductive health programs to $644.3 million and supports Population Fund contributions and a repeal of the gag rule.

"There are already more than 7 billion people on the planet -- we're crowding out wildlife and making it harder for our own species to survive," said Feldstein. "With so many environmental and human-rights problems driven by unchecked population growth and lack of access to reproductive health care, we should be increasing our support for common-sense solutions like international family planning that benefit everyone."

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

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