Planned Parenthood and United Nations Foundation Honor Congresswoman Nita Lowey for International Family Planning Leadership

Rye, New York

December 7, 2009


Megan Rabbitt

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the United Nations Foundation, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic (PPHP), and constituents today honored Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) for her leadership on international family planning with the first yearly “International Family Planning Hero” award.

While in Congress, Rep. Lowey, who serves as the chair of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, has worked to increase the level of funding for international reproductive health programs to an all-time high of $648.5 million in the Fiscal Year 2010 House Appropriations bill. She has also fought consistently against the global gag rule and successfully restored U.S. funding to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

Providing family planning makes it possible for women to have timely, intended, well-spaced pregnancies, ensures that families will be more able to provide for the children who are born, and reduces hunger and malnutrition in children.

“It is truly an honor to recognize Congresswoman Lowey for her dedication and leadership in advancing reproductive health and rights on behalf of women around the world,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “For the past 20-years she has been a consistent champion and ally in advocating for increased access to reproductive health care and information. We thank her for her leadership and look forward to continuing our work together to better the lives of women and girls everywhere.”

“Women in developing countries continue to suffer most gravely from prevailing global challenges like poverty, conflict and climate change. Leaders like Nita Lowey are essential to help guarantee that reproductive rights, equity and empowerment remain top priorities in our foreign policy efforts,” said Kathy Bushkin Calvin, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation. “Congresswoman Lowey embodies the idea that women have the power to make our world a better place. Her consistent leadership and support for global reproductive health initiatives has made, and continues to make, a significant impact on the future of our planet and on the lives of women and families everywhere.”

“Congresswoman Lowey understands the importance of access to reproductive health care throughout the world because access improves a woman’s quality of life.  Whether here in New York, or abroad, she is a champion for the needs of the most vulnerable and poorest women and girls, and committed to empowering them to determine their reproductive futures,” said Reina Schiffrin, President/CEO of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic.

Congresswoman Lowey is currently serving her 11th term in Congress, representing parts of Westchester and Rockland Counties.  She was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1988 and served in the Democratic Leadership in 2001 and 2002 as the first woman and the first New Yorker to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Increasing access to maternal and reproductive health services to poor women is critical in our efforts to alleviate suffering and strengthen families around the world,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “I am grateful for this honor and I look forward to working with Planned Parenthood and the United Nations Foundation as we continue our work to expand women’s access to comprehensive health care services.”

A member of the House Appropriations Committee, Lowey serves as Chairwoman of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee and a senior member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee, the Homeland Security Subcommittee, and the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel.

PPFA President Cecile Richards, UN Foundation Executive Vice President/CEO Kathy Bushkin Calvin, PPHP President/CEO Reina Schiffrin and representatives from Global South and International Planned Parenthood Federation were on-hand to present the award and thank Rep. Lowey for her work on behalf of women and girls around the world.

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Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate that has also been working overseas for nearly 40-years. We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 850 health centers nationwide, providing medical services and sexuality education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year. We also work with allies worldwide to ensure that all women and men have the right and the means to meet their sexual and reproductive health care needs.

Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, Inc (PPHP) is the 16th largest affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and operates 12 medical centers in Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam Counties.  In 2008, PPHP provided services to over 36,000 patients in over 70,000 visits.  We conducted over 1,800 education programs reaching more than 30,000 youth and adults, and mobilized approximately 10,000 advocates to protect reproductive health care rights.  PPHP has served the community for 76 years, and is dedicated to educating and empowering individuals to make responsible choices regarding their sexuality and sexual health.  Planned Parenthood has done more to reduce the incidence of abortion and unintended pregnancy than any other health care provider or advocacy group.  PPHP is headquartered in Hawthorne NY. For more information about PPHP services and programs, visit

The UN Foundation is an advocate for the UN and a platform for connecting people, ideas, and capital to help the United Nations solve global problems.  We build partnerships, grow constituencies, mobilize resources and advocate policy changes to support the UN’s work for individual and global progress.  The UN Foundation’s work – focused on select global problems – is decreasing child mortality, improving disaster relief, protecting diverse cultures and environments, creating a clean energy future, empowering women and girls, and improving U.S.-UN relations.  For more information, visit