Newly Released 2018 Scorecard Shows Massive Drops for USAID, White House, & State Department in Meeting Global Commitments to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
CHANGE’s Annual Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Index Grades U.S. Government’s Global Health Commitments on a Composite of Health and Rights Issues
WASHINGTON - Today, CHANGE, a U.S.-based sexual and reproductive health and rights organization, launched the 2018 grades for its annual Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Index: Grading U.S. Global Health Assistance. The scorecard critically assesses the U.S. government’s global health policies and funding that impact sexual and reproductive health and rights, and measures its performance by grading it annually.
CHANGE’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Index (SRHR Index) found that across multiple U.S. government agencies and bodies, the United States is failing to live up to its commitments to promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights across global health assistance. For most government agencies, 2018 was the second straight year of declining scores —and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which has high marks for meeting global commitments in 2017, saw a dramatic drop in their score for 2018, declining from an A- (91.5) to a C (76).
SEE THE INDEX HERE: www.srhrindex.srhrforall.org
“At CHANGE, we’re calling it like we see it. It’s no secret that the current administration has a brazenly anti-woman agenda —one that prioritizes power and control over support and security for the people who need it most,” said Serra Sippel, President of CHANGE. “This administration has attacked decades of progress in sexual and reproductive health and gender equality with policies like the expanded Global Gag Rule, undermining people and communities across the globe at every turn. The United States government is failing to live up to our promise at the expense of the lives and wellbeing of women and children around the world, and CHANGE has no problem calling out each department and bad actor who is quite literally failing them.”
The SRHR Index grades the White House and Congress, as well as USAID, Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Defense. It uses standardized indicators to assess these actors’ policies, investments, and actions across three domains of sexual and reproductive health and rights—family planning (FP), maternal and child health (MCH), and HIV and AIDS—for their gender-responsiveness, responsiveness to need, basis in evidence, and consistency with internationally recognized human rights principles.
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The U.S. government receives an overall grade for each domain and a final composite grade for sexual and reproductive health and rights in U.S. global health assistance. The SRHR Index also measures the availability of data needed to assign a grade. Known as the transparency grade, it represents the expectation that the federal government should make data about U.S. global health assistance available, accessible, and informative. Ratings are assigned to each policy and budget-related action taken by specific actors (within their scope of power).
“The methodology of the SRHR Index is rigorously designed to be sensitive to and reflective of both negative actions contributing to restrictions on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the U.S.’ global health assistance and positive actions contributing to their expansion,” Bergen Cooper, director of policy research at CHANGE, explained. “This SRHR Index gives public access to information so that advocates can make specific, evidence-based recommendations to the U.S. government, and the government in turn can take action toward strengthening its global health assistance.”
The 2018 grades come on the 25th anniversary of the International Conference for Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, where the U.S. joined with 173 other countries in adopting a sexual and reproductive health and rights framework to global development and foreign assistance.
Earlier this month, Rep. Lois Frankel and Rep. Barbara Lee introduced a resolution reaffirming the goals of the 1994 ICPD, and calling on the U.S. government to support comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights.
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CHANGE is a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization that promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights as a means to achieve gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, by shaping the public’s conversation, elevating women’s voices, and influencing U.S. and global policies. We are guided by our vision of a world that respects, protects, and honors sexual and reproductive rights for all. Our work is grounded in and driven by a human rights framework at the intersection of multiple sectors including women’s rights, human rights, family planning, maternal health, HIV and AIDS, and gender-based violence.