Post imageDid you know that 222 million women and girls globally want to delay pregnancy but don’t have access to quality contraceptives? This unmet need has devastating impacts on women’s health, and impedes progress on our global development goals. As the largest donor to international family planning programs, the U.S. has a vital role to play in meeting this critical need. Yet, this issue is continually at the center of partisan fights.

Peter Yeo of the UN Foundation and Better World Campaign (right) with Family Planning Hero award recipient Representative Karen Bass (center) and Latanya Mapp Frett of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (left).

That’s why we must recognize policymakers for standing up as champions for what women want and need around the world.

Last week, I had the privilege of presenting Representative Karen Bass (CA – 37th) with the fourth International Family Planning Hero Award. Planned Parenthood and the UN Foundation hosted the reception on Friday in L.A., honoring her work and leadership in global reproductive health in front of an enthusiastic crowd of students and supporters.

Leadership is so much more than voting the right way or lending your name to an important cause. As the Ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Africa, Rep. Bass has been the leading voice in support of women’s rights and reproductive health, and in the face of opposition, has stood as a staunch champion of the vital work of UNFPA. This kind of leadership is something policymakers should emulate.

Peter Yeo of the UN Foundation and Latanya Mapp Frett of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, discuss the importance of policymakers like Representative Bass in leading progress for reproductive rights. 

I look forward to the continued leadership from champions like Rep. Bass, but we need new champions to continue to fight for this critical cause. Raise your voice in support of the 222 million around the world, and become a family planning hero!