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The Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2010: An Investment in Everyone's Future

Written by Rep. Yvette Clarke for - News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Right now, the largest gathering of world leaders in at least a decade is assembling at the United Nations in New York to assess what progress has been made in reducing poverty, improving health and ensuring access to education in developing countries.  One issue on the agenda that is especially dear to me is how to combat pregnancy-related deaths and injuries and improve women’s health in developing countries.

No woman should die giving life—and the good news is that most pregnancy-related deaths, as well as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV, are preventable with a package of basic, proven health interventions. But despite recent progress, far too many women in poor countries still face terrible risks.

We as Americans should make it a priority to save women’s lives. It’s not only the right thing to do, but these investments also reduce poverty, spur the global economy and protect U.S. national interests. To that end, there are three crucial contributions the United States can make—sound policies, sufficient funding, and true leadership.

To help promote sound policies, I introduced legislation in April that would revise existing U.S. laws to meet—and even exceed—current international standards. My legislation, H.R. 5121, The Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2010, outlines a progressive model for delivering sexual and reproductive health services by supporting voluntary family planning, education and outreach. H.R.5121 also recognizes that half the world’s population is under the age of 25 and promotes sexual and reproductive health care for young people, for instance through comprehensive sex education. It further addresses assistance during humanitarian disasters and conflicts, reduction of unsafe abortion, prevention of STIs and HIV, contraceptive development, training of healthcare professionals, and various other initiatives. Read more