WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for renewed support for and dedication to international family planning and reproductive health programs in a speech from the U.S. Department of State.
The event commemorated the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). In 1994, 179 representatives from around the world gathered for the ICPD conference in Cairo and agreed to achieve universal access to reproductive health services by the year 2015, a goal reinforced in the Millennium Development Goals. Despite the U.S. government’s role as a principal architect of the plan, “… U.S. funding for international family planning programs has fallen 23% in real dollars since its high in 1995,” says Susanne Ehlers, Interim President of Population Action International. "Today's statement by Secretary Clinton marks a return to U.S. leadership on international family planning."
Clinton echoed the urgency of the need for increased access to women’s health services, citing that every minute of every day, one woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth, and each year six million more suffer injury, illness, or disability. In addition, Clinton highlighted the ties between equity, rights and health care, stating that “… we cannot accept the marginalization of half the world’s population.” Women Deliver’s motto, “Invest in Women- It Pays” was emphasized in Clinton’s speech as well, as she told the world that “… investing in the potential of women and girls is the smartest investment we can make.”