The global health community lost a champion today. We are saddened by the passing of New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, who was one of America’s greatest advocates for women’s health and reproductive rights around the world.
In his powerful role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Lautenberg fought to protect access to family planning services for women internationally. He worked hard to, despite never succeeding, permanently repeal the Mexico City Policy, a policy better know as the “Global Gag Rule” which prevents foreign NGOs from receiving federal funding if they provide abortion services with private funds.
In times of proposed severe cuts to malaria, the Global Fund and bilateral HIV/AIDS funding, Senator Lautenberg called on U.S. leadership to step up and protect these vital, life-saving programs.
One of the final bills Senator Lautenberg introduced on the floor of the Senate in April demonstrated his lasting commitment to reproductive rights and strong global health legacy that he leaves behind. The “Peace Corps Equity Act of 2013” would provide Peace Corps Volunteers with access to the same standard of health care that most women with federal health care coverage already receive, including coverage of abortions in instances of rape, incest or when the life of the woman is endangered.
Senator Lautenberg faithfully served the people of New Jersey and fought for the voiceless globally for almost 30 years. PSI extends our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Senator Lautenberg.