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Obama Administration Supports Cairo Conference Goals, Clinton Says

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday “reiterated the Obama administration’s support” for universal access to family planning, improving maternal health care and other goals outlined at the 1995 International Conference on Population and Development Action Plan held in Cairo, Egypt, All Headline News reports.

“Too often, still today in 2010, women and girls bear the burdens of regional and global crises, whether it’s an economic downturn or climate change or political instability … And 15 years after the Cairo conference, far too many women still have little or no access to reproductive health services, including family planning and maternal healthcare,” Clinton said, noting that “more than 215 million women worldwide” do not have access to “modern contraception.”

Clinton said the Obama Administration is “convinced of the value of investing in women and girls,” adding, “we understand there is a direct line between a woman’s reproductive health and her ability to lead a productive, fulfilling life” (Singh, 1/9). According to a State Department transcript, Clinton said the administration will integrate “women’s issues as key elements of our foreign policy agenda and in, especially, our Global Health Initiative and our Global Food Security Initiative.”

She continued: “We have pledged new funding, new programs, and a renewed commitment to achieve Millennium Development Goal Five, namely a [three-fourths] reduction in global maternal mortality, and universal access to reproductive healthcare.” She noted that the the Global Health Initiative will “address interrelated health challenges together, for example, by integrating family planning, maternal health services, and HIV/AIDS screening and treatment, so that women receiving reproductive care will also receive HIV counseling, and will be referred to an HIV clinic if they need one” (1/8).

During the speech, Clinton also spoke generally about women’s health issues, noting the impact of unsafe abortions, obstetric fistula and female genital cutting, AHN reports. She also said that Congress has appropriated “more than $648 million in foreign assistance to family planning and reproductive health programs worldwide” (1/9).

C-SPAN has a video of the speech (1/8).