amuzu2_Kent NishimuraLos Angeles Times via Getty Images_planned parenthood Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Sustainable Financing for Family Planning

The Trump administration's defunding of sexual and reproductive health services worldwide has underscored developing countries' vulnerability to the whim of donors. Given the importance of sexual and reproductive health to development, governments must take action to ensure adequate funding.

ACCRA – Planned Parenthood, a vital source of sexual and reproductive health services in the United States, has just been forced to withdraw from the federal Title X family-planning program, which supports low-income women. The decision – a response to a new rule by US President Donald Trump’s administration forbidding Title X clinics from referring patients for abortions – will cost Planned Parenthood about $60 million annually.

That loss may be dwarfed by the human costs of infringing on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) by withholding crucial medical information from patients. Still, losing the Title X funding – which would have been used for contraceptives, screenings for cervical and breast cancer and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and other essential health services – is a damaging blow. And yet Planned Parenthood is not alone: organizations protecting SRHR all over the world are facing similar – if not more severe – financing constraints.

The international community knows that SRHR has far-reaching implications for human health and development, including education, poverty reduction, and gender equality. This is reflected in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by world leaders in 2015, which include the target of ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health services by 2030.

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